Article: The Most Heartwarming Animal Stories That Will Make You Smile: HowStuffWorks
The Most Heartwarming Animal Stories That Will Make You Smile
By: Ian Fortey
About This Article
One of the best things about having a pet is the feeling an animal can bring to you. Even in your darkest hour, the unconditional love of a dog or a cat can bring joy to your heart and help you remember that the world isn't always dreary. Animals bring a lightness to you, and their innocence and warmth can make you feel better about yourself and the whole universe. Sometimes the best person you'll ever know isn't a person at all but an animal.
What better news can a person read than a story about an animal doing something good? Something pure and delightful and silly and fun? These kinds of heartwarming stories, of animals being rescued and animals rescuing us are the kinds of stories that make the news worth reading some days. Their goodness is a nice break from things that can really drag us down into the dumps, and they can often show us that things we take for granted — simple kindnesses, friendships, loyalty — are universal and extend beyond human relationships. Animals are often able to show us the best in ourselves if only we take the time to look. So look here at some of the most heartwarming animal stories guaranteed to make you smile.
Mussa the baby chimp gets rescued
Mussa the baby chimpanzee was rescued in 2018 by the good people at Lwiro Primates. Mussa had been orphaned, his family killed for bushmeat, and was at risk of the same fate at the hands of poachers when he was found. His story went viral when a video of him helping pilot the plane that took him to his new home at the sanctuary was released.
A whale of a rescue
Usually, when you hear of an animal rescue, it's the animal being rescued. Not so in this case! 26-year-old Yang Yun was hoping to become a whale trainer and part of the process involved a free dive, 20 feet to the bottom of a tank full of beluga whales with no breathing apparatus. Suddenly, at the bottom of the tank, Yun's legs froze up with severe cramps, paralyzing her. She feared death until Mila, a beluga whale, gently took her leg in its mouth and swam her to the surface.
Istanbul has two things in abundance: cold winters and stray dogs. There are over 100,000 strays in the city and when the temperature dips low not all of them can make it. Luckily some people do care, like the owners of the Atrium Mall in Bakirkoy. Back in 2015, images spread around the internet of the mall filled with stray dogs who had been provided with warm blankets and food as a means to escape the bitter cold.
Cheetahs are impressive animals. These big cats are fierce in the wild and known for being the fastest animals on land. So it might come as a surprise to learn that these kitties also suffer anxiety issues, especially in captivity. The San Diego Zoo has come up with a solution to ensure the cats can stay calm — emotional support dogs. The cheetahs and dogs form tight bonds and become nearly inseparable, ensuring that the cats have companionship and support that keeps them healthy and happy.
Working cats save Chicago
Head to Empirical Brewery in Illinois and you'll discover not just a good beer but a warehouse that's home three cats. From the Tree House Humane Society, Venkman, Ray and Egon prowl the warehouse in search of mice and rats. As you may or may not know, Chicago has a serious issue with vermin, and the cats are a much safer way of dealing with the issue than using poisons. Plus, Tree House is able to find homes for unadoptable strays and feral cats that might otherwise be put down.
Katherine Heigl and the Poms
Back in 2016, a staggering 164 Pomeranian dogs were found squirreled away in the back of a truck where they had been stashed by a hoarder. The dogs were in bad shape and were nursed back to health, but they still needed to find homes. With the help of actress Katherine Heigl and her own nonprofit, the dogs found homes and Heigl even adopted one herself.
Arizona Jack's very long walk
Some dogs are real homebodies while others really like a good walk. And then there's the coonhound named Jack who baffled everyone by somehow wandering 2,000 miles from Arizona to Pennsylvania. How did he get there? No one knows. But he was discovered not far from Pittsburgh and a microchip turned up his identity and the fact he had come quite a distance. A team of 20 volunteers drove for 3 days to get him back home again.
A homecoming 14 years in the making
One of the tragically overlooked parts of natural disasters is the toll they take on pets. In 2004, in the aftermath of Hurricane Jeanne, an orange tabby cat named Thomas Jr., or T2, went missing. His owner assumed the cat had died but got the shock of his life when, 14 years later, he got a call from the humane society. Someone had found T2 on the street and a scan of his microchip helped them track down the owner. Where he'd been for 14 years no one knows. But he finally went home.
Airport pups for everyone
Few things are as stressful as air travel, so imagine the anxiety when an airport full of people discovered that their plane had been stolen by a rogue airline employee. The flight out of Seattle was delayed and hundreds of people were left with no clue what would happen next. The unusual circumstances had everyone on edge and tempers were running high. Luckily, a team of nine Spanish greyhounds was in the terminal, and the stressed-out passengers flocked to them allowing everyone a chance to relax.
Patches gets a new lease on life
Patches, the 9-year-old wiener dog, was suffering from a serious illness. A massive tumor in the dog's head was threatening its life, and even if it was operated on the dog's skull was affected and a large portion would have to be removed. Luckily a team at the University of Guelph in Canada was on the job. They 3D printed a replacement section of skull, operated to remove the tumor and saved the dog's life.
Rex and Hummer are friends
We've all heard of unlikely animal friendships, but not many are quite as unusual as the one between Rex the German shepherd and Hummer the hummingbird. Hummer had fallen from a nest as a baby and was discovered by the dog. Dirty and covered in insects, Rex's owner Ed assumed the bird was done for but Rex wouldn't let it go. A second look showed the bird still lived. It took a year to nurse Hummer back to health, and when it was time, it refused to leave. Hummer and Rex bonded as friends and the little bird even bathes in his water dish.
Bella the hero
Don't ever let anyone tell you that cats can't be heroes. Bella the cat singlehandedly, or singled-pawedly, saved her owners from certain death. The elderly couple had been rushing home from a storm and forgot to turn off their SUV after they parked in the garage. For 8 hours their house slowly filled with deadly carbon monoxide gas. The husband was already losing consciousness when Bella began yowling in a panic to alert them to something wrong. As he passed out, his wife, barely able to stand, called 911. The couple barely survived, but they did, thanks to the cat.
The rescue bus
After Hurricane Florence in 2018 many pets were left lost or abandoned to fend for themselves in the flooded aftermath. Lucky for some of those animals, a man named Tony Alsup was on the scene. Using an old bus, he converted the vehicle into a mobile animal shelter, then headed to South Carolina. Once there he managed to rescue a total of 64 dogs and cats and get them to real shelters where they could be adopted out.
Bronson the big boy
Have you ever heard of Bronson the cat? He's a bit of an Instagram celebrity thanks to his very relatable journey. You see, Bronson weighed a whopping 33 pounds when his owners adopted him, far too much for any healthy cat. So his weight loss journey has been chronicled by his human helpers, inspiring others as he managed to peel off over 10 pounds and gain 200,000 followers at the same time.
Fred and his little quackers
Fred the Labrador calls Mountfitchet Castle n the UK home. The tourist attraction is home to a lot of animals actually, including ducks. When Fred encountered 9 ducklings on the castle grounds missing a mother, the dog took the initiative to take the little birds under his wing. The ducks were quick to bond with their new surrogate mother, following the pup around the grounds and even sleeping in his bed.
The sloth reunion
In May 2018, rescuers at the Jaguar Rescue Center in Limon, Costa Rica were presented with something very unusual — a baby sloth. The little guy had been found alone in the forest with no mother around. The team at the rescue was able to care for it but knew the sloth would be better with its mother so they set to work on looking. When nothing turned up they resorted to plan B; playing the baby's cries on a loudspeaker. Incredibly, the plan worked and a mother sloth crawled down from the trees to be reunited with her little one.
The skater and the strays
Canadian figure skater Meagan Duhamel is at the top of her game. She even took home a gold medal in Korea at the 2018 Winter Games. Skating was not the only thing Duhamel was up to in Korea, though, as she discovered a little dog named Mootae while she was there. Mootae was not just a stray, though, it was on the meat market destined to be eaten. Duhamel rescued the dog and took it home to live with her other rescued pup Daegong.
The dog of war
Sometimes a friendship can form in the unfriendliest place of all. US Marine Nick Montez had been on active duty in Afghanistan with a bomb-sniffing dog named Mally. The two became not just partners but friends, keeping each other alive in the harshest of circumstances. When Montez was honorably discharged in 2013, he wanted to adopt Mally but she still had work to do. Montez waited years until he got word from his senator that Mally's service was finished and the two were finally reunited.
Cango's foster mom
The Cango Wildlife Reserve in South Africa cares for many different orphaned and abandoned baby animals. Those little ones need help that humans can't always provide, especially since humans and animals should not always bond with one another for the sake of safety. That's where Lisha comes in. Lisha the Labrador has served as a surrogate mother for all manner of orphaned babies from tiger cubs to a famous pygmy hippopotamus.
Little Bear likes to wait
If you head to a certain town in China and go to the train station, you're likely to find an old Chow Chow dog named Xiongxiong, which means "Little Bear." Every day Xiongxiong follows his owner to the train on his way to work and then waits a full 12-hour day for his master to return. Locals have grown accustomed to the dog, whose loyalty can clearly not be questioned, and they'll often stop to say hello and give him a pat.
A little ditty 'bout Jack and Diane
On "The Walking Dead" Jeffrey Dean Morgan played the truly monstrous Negan, but in real life, he's clearly a bit of a soft touch. When Morgan learned the story of Jack and Diane, a donkey and an emu, he couldn't resist helping out. The unlikely pair of animals had been left abandoned on a farm together. No one knows for how long, but it was long enough for them to form an inseparable friendship. The two had to stay together so Morgan adopted them, taking them to his own farm.
The little squirrel that could
Some people think of squirrels as pests but not everyone, and certainly not the orthopedic surgeons at Istanbul Aydin University. When a little squirrel named Karamel came to them it had lost its front legs in a trap. A death sentence for most animals, the little squirrel was lucky enough to be given a second chance. Doctors managed to design a set of prosthetic wheels for the squirrel, ensuring he was able to motor around as fast as ever, even if climbing trees was out of the question.
The legend of Swansea Jack
Every so often you'll hear a story about an amazing act of heroism from a dog, but have you ever head the tale of Swansea Jack? Back in the 1930s, Jack saved a young boy from drowning in the River Tawe. Some weeks later, Jack did the same thing again, rushing into the water to save a drowning swimmer, this time with witnesses. Then he did it again. And again. All told, Jack was credited with saving 27 lives, a feat that netted him numerous awards including 2 bronze medals and a silver cup from the mayor of London.
A call for help
Watch enough YouTube videos and you'll find at least one featuring a talkative parrot or maybe even one that knows how to cuss. A parrot's ability to speak can be much more valuable than you might think, especially in the case of Willie the Quaker. Willie's owner was babysitting one morning and went to the washroom for just a moment. While she was away, the 2-year-old she'd been watching began to choke. Willie sprang into action yelling "Mama! Baby!" until his owner returned and performed the Heimlich maneuver, saving the baby's life.
Salty and Roselle: Heroes
Amid all the stories of tragedy and heroism that came out of the September 11th attacks, few are quite like the tale of Salty and Roselle, two guide dogs that were in Tower 1 as the attacks began. As the towers began to fall and people tried to escape in a mad panic, these two dogs led their masters, one from the 71st floor and the second from the 78th, all the way to safety. As humans struggled to figure out what to do, the training of these dogs kept them cool, calm and on point the whole way down to safety.
How much do you know about dinosaurs? What is an octane rating? And how do you use a proper noun? Lucky for you, HowStuffWorks Play is here to help. Our award-winning website offers reliable, easy-to-understand explanations about how the world works. From fun quizzes that bring joy to your day, to compelling photography and fascinating lists, HowStuffWorks Play offers something for everyone. Sometimes we explain how stuff works, other times, we ask you, but we’re always exploring in the name of fun! Because learning is fun, so stick with us!
Get smarter every day! Subscribe & get 1 quiz every week.
Playing quizzes is free! We send trivia questions and personality tests every week to your inbox. By clicking "Sign Up" you are agreeing to our
and confirming that you are 13 years old or over.