These Animals Changed Lives

September 8, 2023 | Violet Newbury

These Animals Changed Lives

Here, Redditors share their stories on how animals affected and altered their lives. Whether saving them from danger or providing unconditional love, it is no wonder many pet owners prefer animals to people.

1. On The River’s Edge

When I was little, we lived on 14 acres right on a river bank. One day when I was about two, my very pregnant mom brought me home from grocery shopping, put me inside, and went back out to get the rest of the groceries. I somehow snuck out the door and wandered down to the river. My mom freaked out when she went into the house and couldn't find me.

She headed for the river, sure that I was drowning. When she found me, she could believe her eyes. I was standing with my toes on the very edge of the water, and our German shorthaired pointer sitting very calmly behind me with my shirt in his mouth, holding me back. I probably owe that dog my life.

These Animals Changed Lives

2.  It Was Fall For The Best

One day I was walking my dog, and on our way back to my house, a squirrel ran into our garage. I let go of the leash, thinking we were home, so he wasn’t going to run away or anything. However, the squirrel ran out of the garage, and my dog ran after him. As a last resort, I stepped on his leash to keep him from running away.

It wrapped around my ankle, and I fell to the ground. It was a little jarring, but I was OK. The next day, my leg puffed up to the point where I was limping very badly. We went to the doctor and found out that because I had twisted it and fell, I had aggravated a blood clot, specifically, a DVT, which caused the swelling.

Since I was only 15, blood clots were not common. So, the doctor took more tests—and made a chilling discovery.

We discovered that a malignant tumor near my bladder caused the clot. It was the size of a grapefruit. They also found that the cancer—stage 4—had spread. I started treatment immediately. Ten months after my dog caused me to fall, I was almost finished with chemo and cancer free.

3. Just Go With Mitt

I was taking my dog, Mittens, for a morning walk. Mitt was weirdly determined to keep looking at this one trashcan. I tried to get him to keep walking, but he would start growling as soon as I tugged his leash away from it. I decided to look at what was in there and was surprised I didn't notice the smell or anything before.

There were an insane number of flies buzzing around it. I  just thought, "Oh, whatever—rotten meat", but that's when I noticed something that made a shiver crawl down my spine. 

I noticed a tiny patch of skin. Being brave, I decided to poke a little more, and that's when I realized it was a tiny arm and hand. I called the authorities. They pulled out the body of a deceased three-year-old boy.

Eventually, they identified the kid. He was from a few towns over and had gone missing the week before. The authorities figured the assailant must have driven by at night to drop the body there. They interviewed everyone on my block, but no one said they saw anything suspicious, and as far as I know, they never pinned it on anyone. It still makes me sick thinking about it now.

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4.  On A Wild Moose Chase

When I was visiting friends up in Nunavut, a moose used to hang around and get tipsy off of fermented apples near their house. It was surprisingly chill with people, probably because it was sloshed most of the time. One day, my friend and I got back to his place, and there was a surprise waiting for us.

The moose was standing right on his doorstep, blocking the door. Only an idiot messes with a full-grown moose, so we let it be, got back in the car, and waited for it to leave. After a few minutes, a couple of mounties showed up, then a couple more. Something was up.

You didn’t usually see more than two officers at a time, so it was a bit of a strange response to a moose on the doorstep, especially considering we hadn't called anyone. It turned out they weren't there for the moose.

They were there for a man who had injured his girlfriend and then held up a store, and was last seen being chased by a tipsy moose right into my friend’s house. If the moose hadn't been blocking the door, the guy probably would have blasted us. It took the authorities hours to get him to come out, and he was absolutely trashed when he did.

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5. My Dog Was The Bomb

One night, I was walking my dog Nitro—a 100 lb rot/lab/chow mix—in the massive expanse of wilderness that was my backyard. It wasn't pitch black but relatively dark, and the sky was littered with dim stars. We were coming around a bend of foliage when I heard this strange, guttural sound I'd never heard before; incredibly deep and threatening.

I started glancing around but couldn't see anything. My dog was doing a bit of the same, but by his reaction, I could feel he had more information than I did. It didn't take long before he got directly in front of me and started snarling at something in the bushes. I backed away and peered into the brush. Then, something moved, and I saw two large eyes staring back at me.

It was a mountain lion. They both just stood there. The mountain lion was in a pounce-ready position, and I was confident it could be on me before I had time to move. My dog was in a similarly defensive position, and every hair on his back was standing on end. They exchanged growls for what seemed like a decade, locking eyes the entire time before the cat slowly backed down and fled.

These Animals Changed LivesFlickr, Neil McIntosh

6. Camie Came A Running

My dog, Camie, defended my friend and me from my friend's crazy boyfriend. We both knew he was a  sociopath, but my friend was in denial about that for a long time. Finally, she couldn't deny it anymore and tried to leave him.

He lost it on her and really went to town on her. She managed to get away from him and drove the short distance to my house to be safe. However, she wasn’t. 

He followed her, kicked through the glass on the french doors, and unlocked the bolt from the inside. I wish I could say that either of us made a valorous stand against him, but we didn't. She had already gone a few rounds with him, and neither of us had any kind of self-defense training. He cornered us quickly and used his fists and my scarves to subdue us.

He told us what he was going to do to us both and I had pretty much resigned myself to it, too weak to fight, and for whatever reason, it wasn't in me to beg. I just went cold and numb. That's when Camie, my pit/lab mix, broke through the remainder of the french doors and came barreling into the room. Camie was usually a sweet, loving, goofy dog.

She was as gentle as could be with all of the neighborhood kids and had never so much as snarled.  However, when she got a hold of this guy, she was a different animal. She was wild-eyed and foaming at the mouth. She was bleeding from all the cuts she had gotten from the glass but didn’t care. She was on top of him in the blink of an eye.

Then, the sound of the garage door opening froze us all in place. My father was home. The guy tried to take advantage of the moment to escape, but Camie backed him into a corner, barked, and snarled her head off. My dad must have understood something about that sound because he was in that room in no time flat.

The authorities came, and we filed charges. The guy went on trial and was put away.

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7. This Guy Was The Cat’s Meow

I was living with a harmful boyfriend and my cat Buddie. Because my boyfriend was terrible to her, too, she was terrified of any man that came to the apartment until a friend of a friend came over. She loved him and would follow him all over the place. I finally got the nerve to toss out my boyfriend, but I needed a place to live.

My friend’s friend had lost his roommates, so I moved in. We eventually got married and have been for 19 years.

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8. Shiver Me Timbers!

When I was around 16, my older brother brought home this awesome pit whose owners were getting divorced and moving away. We'd never had a dog before since my mom was pretty nervous around them from bad experiences as a child. He was about eight months old, with a patch of color over his eye, so the former owners had dubbed him Pirate.

My younger brother and I were super jazzed, and we bought him all the requisite dog stuff so we could take him out. We'd usually walk him around our neighborhood together, but on this one particular day, my brother had gone to a friend's house, so I took him out by myself. It was summer at high noon, and it was getting super hot.

I decided to cut the walk short and go through an alley that would take me back to my side of the block. I turned to go down the alley, and Pirate wouldn’t move. He just looked at me. I coaxed and tugged on his leash, and it was like dragging a boulder. Being new to dogs, I thought he was just being difficult for fun. Finally, he saw my insistence and just up and bolted.

I was flying behind him, yelling at him to stop, but he kept going road-runner style. As we neared the end of the alley, I saw this older guy standing there like a statue, staring at me with his pants all the way down and his junk out. I was in complete shock and couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Pirate didn’t pause for a second; by then, I was all for running.

We ran back to my house, where I immediately started yelling my head off about the guy by the alley. My mom called the authorities, and my stepdad drove down the street looking for him. He saw our neighbors flipping out because they had driven by and seen him too. Girls were getting accosted in our area that summer, so it was serious, and I had to file a report.

I can't imagine what would have happened if he hadn't been with me.

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9. Blood Bark

It was late at night, and everybody in my house was asleep. I decided that I was going to go to the kitchen and take my life. I went to the kitchen and got a cutter out of a drawer. Before I went through with it, I wanted to make sure the blade was sharp, so I tested it on my wrist. It was sharper than I had anticipated; I cut myself pretty badly.

At that moment, my dog immediately started to bark his head off. Within what seemed like seconds, my mom was at my side. I was on the ground, panicking and trying to get the blood off the floor. I told the paramedics and my family that cutting my wrist was an attempt on my life.

I couldn’t bear to tell my family that I was prepared to do something as drastic as cutting my throat. My dog saved my life that night. He knew I had hurt myself and got me the help I needed.

These Animals Changed LivesUnsplash, Dev Asangbam

10. This Cat Had Spidey Sense

I had a bagel with cream cheese sitting by my desk, and before I picked it up to take a bite, my cat jumped onto the desk and started punching the bejeezus out of the bagel. It turned out that there was a gigantic spider in the hole of it, which I would have almost eaten if it wasn’t for him. That cat lived up to his name, Rambo.

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11. Out Of Nowhere

When I was younger, I had a German shepherd, JC. He was one of those lazy, sit at the foot of the sofa kind of dogs. He was lovable and never showed a mean bone in his body. One day, the front door was left open, and he strolled out. I was in school when he left, so I had no idea he was gone.

My grandmother called my neighbor and asked if he would mind helping to look for him. He obliged and walked and drove around to look for him but wasn't able to find him. Later that day, when I was walking home from school, I saw a friend of mine in a fight. I ran over to see what was going on, and it was my friend against four other guys.

I ran over, pushed one of the guys out the way, and tried to get my friend up. My friend looked at me and yelled, "RUN," which I tried to do, but one of the other guys grabbed me by the neck and tackled me.  My friend just ran. I was being kicked and pummeled, then four or five more guys showed up and surrounded me.

As soon as I curled up into a fetal position, I heard one of the guys yell, and many of them started to run. JC showed up out of nowhere and started biting and snarling at everyone.

After a moment, I looked up and couldn't believe it was my dog because I had never seen that behavior from him. He came over, licked my face, and turned around into a defense position. I stood up, and there were three guys who hadn’t run yet.  After a quick stare down, they tucked their tails and ran. I was bleeding, had a huge headache, and was tired, but JC saved me from even worse.

When we were a few minutes from the house, JC ran ahead of me, and I was too tired to chase after him. I got home and saw him sitting at the corner of the property, just looking out like a guard. I walked in and sat on the couch. He jumped on my lap, licked my face a little, and I napped for a while.

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12. My Dog Hooked Me Up

I met my girlfriend of two years because of my dog. I was walking my dog Boots in the local park when this cute blonde walked over to say hello. It wasn’t unusual for people to come over to talk to other people’s dogs in this park. She asked the usual questions and crouched down to pet him. Then, he barked.

I lamely said to her, “He asked if he can have your number”. She laughed and gave it to me.

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13. Bush Master

When I was four, I went to preschool down the road from my house, but my mom would almost always drive me there. When we did walk, I always insisted that we bring our dog, Luke. He was a huge Golden/Labrador Retriever mix. My mom didn't like bringing him when we walked since he stopped every five feet to mark his territory.

One day, when my mom was going to pick me up, Luke scratched at the door like crazy and refused to stay inside. My mom gave in and took him with her to pick us up. When my mom was walking toward the school, Luke tugged the leash really hard toward the longer way there. My mom refused and forced him to go the short way.

She picked us up and started to walk back the short way, but Luke was steadfast in going the long way. I hated going on walks, so neither of us wanted to do it, but the two of us couldn't push him the other way, so we gave in. On the way there, I was talking my mom's ear off about the stuff I did at preschool, but suddenly my mom told me to shush.

She said she heard something. We waited for a few seconds, but I still couldn't hear anything. We kept walking, but then Luke burst toward a bush in someone's yard, and we heard, "Can you help me?" We noticed a foot sticking out from behind the bush. An 80-year-old woman was stuck.

My mom tried to help her up, but the woman said she had had hip and knee surgery and couldn't get up that way. Luke bit down on the six-foot-tall bush and yanked it out of the ground. My mom went to the neighbor’s house to call for help, and we ended up saving that woman's life because of our stubborn dog.

A few weeks later, my mom went to visit that woman and found out that her son visits once a week, and she fell while waving him goodbye that day. She would have been out there for a week if it wasn’t for Luke.

These Animals Changed LivesUnsplash, Paréj Richárd

14. Lassie To The Rescue

My little brother's dog quite literally saved his life. He was living in a very old house, and something went wrong with the wood heating that caused his house to fill up with lethal black smoke. My brother was already asleep when this happened, so the carbon monoxide from the smoke just made him unconscious.

Brutus, his dog, repeatedly bit his arm until the pain snapped him out of it and helped drag him towards the door. He was a 140-pound golden lab version of Lassie.

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15. Her Sweet Meow Saved Me

I had a wonderful dog who meant the world to me but was taken. The incident heavily affected me. Against my will and comfort zone, I adopted a cat and named her CandyRaj. Although she could never replace my dog, she was OK and acted more like a dog than a cat. I was always hesitant with her and nervous that someone would take her too.

Half a year later, we were hit with bad storms. Trees were uprooted, and electrical wires and poles all over were knocked down. The weekend before St. Patrick’s Day, a housemate and I went food shopping and returned to the house. We unpacked everything, started playing video games, and chilled. A few hours passed, and something was weird.

The storm outside was pounding on the house, which didn’t bother me, but something smelled strange. We went to check and found the house had some slight smoke. I assumed something was left in the oven. We checked the kitchen—nothing. We checked the second floor—again, nothing. I nervously head to the basement but found nothing yet again.

Confused, we searched every aspect of the house, except for my room, because it had been fine the last I had checked. After 10 minutes, we suddenly heard an alien meow from my bedroom. We looked at each other, and I opened the door. About four feet from the door was my dresser. It was on fire. I screamed, and my cat jumped out at me.

I grabbed her, threw her in a car, and tried to deal with the fire. It was an electrical fire and quickly erupted around the room. We lost the house and everything that I ever owned. CandyRaj was a tough cat stuck in an enclosed room of deep black smoke. I would never have checked my room if it wasn’t for that cat. The experience helped me grow to love her.

I survived with just cuts and bruises instead of being burned or worse.

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16. Just In The Lick Of Time

A few years ago, my best friend had a bad breakup with his girlfriend when she left for college. The relationship was always bad, and the distance just made it worse, with constant arguing and screaming. One day they were arguing on the phone upstairs while I was in his basement. I heard him yelling, then stop. Then, something hit the ground hard.

I ran upstairs. He had collapsed. He was convulsing, having a panic attack, and unable to breathe. His dad, mom, and I were crying over him, begging him to stop and telling him to breathe. Just then, his dog ran in and started licking his feet. Somehow, he just started laughing. He was coughing and laughing but able to breathe again.

These Animals Changed LivesFlickr, Bill Geneczko

17. Fear Had No Boundaries

I was visiting family with my mother when I was seven. While everyone was in the house drinking and giggling, I went to the backyard, which had a pool. They had a larger dog, and I was afraid of dogs at the time. As I was trying to play and stay as far away from the dog as possible, I fell into the pool.

The dog, who I had avoided, jumped in the water and pulled me close enough to the edge that I got out. That day, I learned that I needed to learn how to swim and that dogs are awesome.

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18. My Bull-Headed Dog Saved Me

I lived on a small farm, and the cows would get out every once in a while. Typically, we could get them back in with some corn or hay. This particular time, a bull got out. I was young and home alone. I went out to bring it in, which I usually did with the cows, even at that age. I went out and did my usual routine, but the bull wasn't having any of it.

It started acting far more aggressively. I backed up a bit, which was probably a bad idea. The bull lowered its head and started coming towards me. Out of nowhere, my border collie, Cosmo, jumped between us, walloped the bull on the nose, dodged its rams, and returned back to its face. This stopped the bull in its tracks and turned its attention from me to the dog.

Cosmo rounded it, snapped at its tail, and put pressure on its sides. By the end of the short—yet seemingly long—period of time, the dog had brought the bull to the gate so I could close it on him. Meanwhile, my cat was rolling in gravel.

These Animals Changed LivesWikimedia Commons

19. Compassionate Kitty

I was a college grad looking for work and getting turned down pretty consistently in favor of people with more experience for over a year. I was getting extremely down about it, feeling hopeless, and sliding into depression. Having worked hard to do really well in college and then be consistently turned down was seriously getting to me.

One day I was over at my mom's, and she was getting upset with me for not having a job yet. After she'd gone upstairs, I sat in the kitchen with my head on my arms, trying not to cry. All of a sudden, my mom's cat jumped up out of nowhere and curled up on my legs. He looked up at me and started purring. I'd never felt more comforted than I did right then.

He didn't leave until I had to get up again. I had almost decided to cancel a trip I'd planned months earlier to go to a gaming convention, but oddly enough, that kitty cheered me up enough to still want to go. I ended up meeting the love of my life there and moving to an entirely different part of the country. I was still looking for a job, but things became a lot better than they were.

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20. A Clean Save

When I was much younger, my family had a couple of puppies we were trying to find homes for. My mom worked at the local animal clinic, so my sister and I took them there to give them a bath to look pretty for their new owners. Just as I started to open the back room door, the puppy in my arms wrapped both front paws around my arm, started trembling violently, and whined.

I paused to see if I could figure out what was wrong.  I looked down, and through the crack in the door I had been opening, I saw the eye and silently snarling jaws of the German shepherd K-9 unit dog that was being boarded there. He had escaped his run and had the entire back room under his dominion.

If my sister and I had walked into that room, we would have undoubtedly been mauled.

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21. She Needed Some Puppy Love

My friend had a severe eating disorder. She would punish herself by making herself exercise. Normally, this doesn't sound too bad, but she would force herself to the brink of exhaustion until she almost passed out. She was doing this one night when I walked over with my new puppy. I set down the pup so she could run into her house.

My pup found her on the floor, where she was crying, shaking, and doing pushups. She was trying to “punish” herself for something stupid that she had no control over. The pup ran over to her, started licking her face, and whining. She finally got help, and I gave up that dog to her that very day.

They were obviously in love, and she needed that adorable lab-mix rescue ten times more than I did.

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22. My Dogs Made A Splash In My Life

Most of the animals I have had have changed my life somehow. The two dogs I had growing up (Cheif and T'pau) were always there for me when I was sad and just couldn't do it anymore. When the very first guy I thought I loved broke up with me, I cried for so long. I wanted to end my life, so I grabbed pills and some water.

My two pups came in, and right as I was going to drink the water, Cheif flopped by my side, and T'pau gave me a "hug" by putting her head into my chest. Doing so spilled the water all over them and me. They both looked at me with water all over their faces. I couldn't help but laugh and hold them. After that, whenever I felt sad, they were the ones I turned to.

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23. I Had My Own Kitty Corner

I had two cats at home. One was a Maine coon—a complete dork but secretly very intelligent—and the other was a very smart blue point Siamese. I never had many friends, and the friends I did have weren't interested in hanging out with me outside of school. I didn't have anyone to talk to, so I would socialize with my cats.

They kept me company and gave me a reason not to harm myself when I was a depressed teenager.

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24. Love Is A Pug

I had a severe depressive episode where I sat on my couch staring at a glass of water while holding a fistful of pills. Then, my tiny pug puppy crawled into my lap. He just sat there, stared into my face, and began to lick my chin. I just couldn't do it with him looking at me like that. I put the pills away and just cuddled my puppy on the couch for a while.

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25. At A Lifesaving Crossroads

I went through a devastating breakup with my girlfriend. We had been together for seven years, living together for three, and I had proposed to her about two weeks prior. She had said yes to the marriage proposal, then two weeks later, she broke up with me. I knew it was commitment panic, so we kept hanging out on the weekends, but then my father decided to stick his nose into things.

One weekend, on my way back from visiting her, my dad called up her new boyfriend's house; then, he called him at work. I wasn't aware of any of this until I got a call from her, madder than I had ever seen her before. I lost all hope that we could work things out. I had a two-hour drive ahead of me to think and feel sorry for myself.

About an hour and a half into my tear-filled drive, I had serious thoughts of driving off the bridge I was crossing. At that point, my dog climbed into the front seat and put his head on my lap. He saved my life simply by being there for me.

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26.  Shake, Rattle, And Roll

When I was a little over a year old, my family moved across town. It took four days to get everything ready. While my parents and sibling were packing up the house and loading the moving truck, I was on the front porch playing. For some reason, my cat would herd me away from a particular potted plant whenever I ventured near it.

He would just sit on the porch by the plant and watch me. My parents thought it odd but didn't think about it any further. On the last day, my parents picked up the potted plant to find a pygmy rattlesnake underneath it. Byron was an awesome cat. He was a 22 lb feline that held his own against Rottweilers and Dobermans multiple times and lived to the ripe old age of 19.

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27. He Brought Me Out Of My Shell

I have a little turtle, and that little guy adores me. Whenever I'm beat after work and in a “the heck with the world" mood, I'll walk back into my apartment, and there he is—flipping out in his tank, excited that I'm home. Somehow his happiness makes me happy, and “boom”, I’m in an instant good mood for the rest of the night.

These Animals Changed LivesWikimedia Commons

28. Man’s Best Friend

I suffer from severe PTSD, agoraphobia, and panic attack anxiety disorder after two tours of duty in Iraq. My family moved to another state so that my son may attend school. My German shepherd is literally the only friend I have left in the world. It's kind of sad but also comforting. Without him, I don't think I could even function or continue to make it day to day.

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29. Cat Duty

We had three cats in our house—George, Pepper, and Brogan. Pepper was around 13 years old, had diabetes and arthritis, and George was becoming irritable and mean to everyone in the house. My parents didn't want to put them down, so they began looking into a no-kill cat shelter that specialized in cat care for difficult cats.

My parents wanted to send Brogan there to keep the other two happy, but I cried and pleaded that she stay because she was my favorite. They agreed on one condition—that I would be completely responsible for her food, water, litter, and so on. I agreed, and she was my cat until she passed at the ripe age of 17.

She taught me responsibility, love, and how to manage my time and money.

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30. A Reason To Live

I struggle with depression, and my cat helps me make it through. She knows when I'm upset and always comes over and does everything she can to cheer me up. Thanks to her, I could never take my life. The thought of her walking around the house meowing and crying because she wouldn’t be able to find me is too heartbreaking for me ever to consider doing that to her.

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31. My Feline Gave Me Fight

I was battling cancer and had only a 3% chance of living. My cat would lay on my head and purr and would soothe me when I cried. When I was hundreds of miles away getting treatment, I would think about her, how she was my "baby", and how much I wanted to see her. I had trouble sleeping when I was first diagnosed and in the hospital.

I would think of her purring in my ear, and it helped me get to sleep. I don't know if I can say she saved my life, but she sure gave me a reason to want to live it.

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32. My Canine Sniffed Out A Villain

One day, I was walking my dog, and this man stopped to talk to me. My dog, who was usually very friendly towards people, started snarling and barking at this person. He was very pushy and tried to get me alone, but he eventually gave up because my dog would not stop being aggressive. I went home as fast as I could and forgot about it.

A few days later, I was walking with my SO, and he pointed this same man out. What he told me made my blood run cold. The man was a convicted offender.

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33. Roy Was No Garbage Hound

When I was younger, I would always wander. I could climb out of any entrapment that modern man had invented. When I would fall, I got right back up. My whole family was out by my aunt’s pool, and I wanted to go inside for some reason. My aunt’s dog—a massive German shepherd named Roy—loved playing with me because I gave him the most attention.

Somehow I managed to work my way inside and to the garbage in a bedroom. I climbed into the trash and got stuck, head first, with a plastic bag. The dog saw it, went outside to where the adults were, and started bugging out. At first, it was just a few barks; then, he started whimpering and running in circles and in and out of the house.

They realized I was missing and followed Roy. They found me nearly suffocated, upside down, in the trash can. To this day, I thank that dog for being as smart as he was.

These Animals Changed LivesFlickr, Josefine S. (Protected by Pixsy)

34. Hide N’ Seek Saved Me

When I was in junior high school, every day when I came home, the first thing I did was call for my dog. We lived out in the desert, so he had free roam around the neighborhood like all the other dogs. He would always run out from under the porch and greet me. However, one day he wasn't there.

I walked up and down the street for about twenty minutes looking for him, but I couldn't find him. I headed back home, and right as I got home, I saw two masked men running out of my yard with my dog at their heels and the door to my house broken open. He had hidden, so I would go look for him and not go inside.

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35. Hammer Time

A while after returning from Afghanistan, I started dealing with some severe depression and PTSD symptoms. Life was rough for me, more so than when I was deployed. I didn't have the focus I had while deployed or the outlets either anymore. I simply stewed in my own misery.

I started seeing a therapist, but all she wanted to do was pump me full of pills and send me on my merry little way. I disagree with just throwing meds at problems until they "go away," so I sought a different head shrink. She turned me onto Animal-Assisted Therapy and helped me to get my dog, Hammer. He’s been my best friend ever since.

He's helped me through some dark times, kept me calm during panic/anxiety attacks, and been a rock in my life. The Fourth of July was a particularly awful night for me, which I spent huddled up in my apartment with my headphones on and Hammer by my side, keeping me calm. He jumps in my bed whenever I have nightmares and lays next to me.

Whenever I start to roll around a lot or lash out in my sleep, he licks my face or nuzzles me until I wake up. My life would either be an empty hole or non-existent if it weren't for Hammer.

These Animals Changed LivesUnsplash, Jamie Street

36. Things Became A Whole Lot Betta

I was having a terrible semester. I was always sick, my then-boyfriend was away on exchange, and I was lonely. As I was walking through the campus center, there was a guy selling betta fish. I knew nothing about fish, but on impulse, I decided to buy one. I spent a lot of time looking at all the different ones to pick a pretty, healthy, and nice-looking one.

I was starting to get freaked out because all the fish seemed spazzy. But then I saw this little red fish calmly watching me, and I knew right away that we were going to be friends. He was the best. He'd watch me do my homework, get angry if I left the light on too long at night because he couldn't nap, and actually “dance” with me, swimming back and forth to mimic me.

That little guy saved my semester.

These Animals Changed LivesPexels

37. Dog Of Discipline

My great uncle was in the Indian forces. He had this dachshund that was disciplined like no other dog I’d ever seen. Even his posture was rigid. I was too afraid to get to know him because of how strict he was. Whenever we broke the rules, he'd bark at us. One day, my cousins, who were three and six, were out playing in the backyard.

The dog started barking like crazy and biting them. They ran inside crying. My great uncle went outside to see what was up and found a deceased 12-foot king cobra. Unfortunately, the snake managed to bite the dog, and he passed shortly thereafter, but not before saving my cousins’ lives.

These Animals Changed LivesUnsplash, Hayden Patmore

38. Stray No More

My aunt and uncle had a dachshund and lived in a heavily wooded area. There was a stray German shepherd that they had taken in and were caring for until they could locate the owner. The stray was sleeping in the carport when the dachshund was outside with my cousin, who was four or five at the time.  A mountain lion came down from the forest above their backyard and hopped their fence.

It started seriously injuring the dachshund who was trying to protect my cousin. This German shepherd heard the little wiener dog yelping in pain, blew right through the locked gate, barrelled into the mountain lion, and took it out on the spot.

The dachshund ended up making a full recovery, and the owners of the shepherd were never found. He became a new member of their family and probably saved my cousin's life.

These Animals Changed LivesUnsplash, Claire Dornic

39. He Was Looking For Some Love

When my mom was younger, this dog started coming to their house every day to be petted and played with. After some time, he made their home his home and slept in the backyard. One night, he was barking and growling uncontrollably at something behind the wall of my grandparent's house.

After they turned on a few lights to see what the fuss was about, they saw a figure dash into the night. It was Richard Ramirez, the "Night Stalker". That random dog saved their lives.

These Animals Changed LivesPxhere

40. This Puppy Was No Joke

I was dealing with a lot of stuff when I was a teen. I was diagnosed with depression when I was twelve and tried to take my life at thirteen. My parents divorced when I was fourteen. I had no friends, and my only sister despised me at the time. After a particularly tough day—having just found out that my dad had another kid—my mom asked how she could help.

I joked that I wanted a puppy. That weekend my mom came home with the most wonderful little dog I could ever ask for, and my life turned around. It was like he knew I needed comforting, and we've been inseparable ever since. Having something to be responsible for saved my life.

These Animals Changed LivesUnsplash, Timotheus Fröbel

41. A Morning Walk Almost Led To Disaster

My family and I adopted a dog from the pound when he was a few weeks old. He was a chow/lab mix and was very scary looking to strangers. Despite his appearance, he was very sweet and wouldn’t hurt a fly. One day, my mom was walking him at 6 AM when no one in our neighborhood was out. A man started approaching her at a very fast pace.

He intended to attack her, but when he got close enough, my dog went ballistic. He jumped on his hind legs, growled, and snapped, not allowing the man to get through to my mom. Cursing at my mom, the man gave up and took off. In the entirety of his life, that was the only time he was ever witnessed to be aggressive.

These Animals Changed LivesPexels

42. Life Lessons Learned

When I was four, my mom gave me a cat. She was my best friend for the next 16 years. Having somebody there that loved me unconditionally no matter what helped me while growing up. She would come to cuddle with me when I was sad and let me get away with all kinds of shenanigans while playing with her when I was little. When she passed, it was my first experience with grief.

It was a reality check for me. When I would come home from school, I began making sure to say “goodbye” and "I love you" to everyone I visited. Right around the time my cat passed, I got a betta fish because those were the only pets allowed in my apartment. This fish was the most helpful in dealing with the grief of losing my cat. I know he was just a fish, but I adored him.

He gave me something to take care of while I took the time I needed to get past my cat's loss. The fish got sick. There was nothing I could do, and it passed as well. I learned that no matter how hard you try, sometimes the only thing you can do is pick yourself up and move on.

These Animals Changed LivesPexels

43. A Fool And His Bunny

I quit lighting up because of my rabbit. I had been running through packs for seven years. I loved it. I thought it made me feel better, less anxious, and more confident. I tried to quit for my boyfriend, for my family, for money, and for my health, but I couldn't stop. I got a little rabbit because they had always been my favorite animals.

I had him for only a few weeks, and I felt horrible every time I would play with him, and my hands would reek of smoke even after I washed them. Rabbits are so sensitive and small. I kept wondering what it must be like to have that smell shoved in his face every day by me, the person he was supposed to trust, so I quit. He saved me from smelling bad forever and probably getting cancer.

These Animals Changed LivesPexels

44. Diesel Revved His Engines

My father was mowing the backyard with our John Deere 1520 with the brush hog hooked up. He was out back for about an hour. When I looked out the window, he was mowing around the pond. Our property used to be farmland and is very soft, so the tractor left tracks throughout the backfield. As my father was mowing, my Rottweiler, Diesel, started hopping around, grunting and growling.

He ran to the back door and started whining. It was totally out of character for him, so I let him out and followed him. As we rounded the corner of the garage, my father was on the tractor about to tip into the pond. His foot was wedged in between the clutch and brake. The ground beneath the tractor had collapsed on one side.

I got my father’s foot out and prevented him from drowning because of my buddy Diesel.

These Animals Changed LivesPexels

45. Nut Job

My best man's Boston terrier, Athena, jumped on his nuts. After a couple of days in pain, he finally relented and went to the hospital. They did some tests, and the scans revealed he had early-stage testicular cancer, which was treated successfully. If it wasn't for that dog, who knows if he'd still be around.

These Animals Changed LivesPexels

46. Sugar Rush

I was a newish diabetic, and my late father always said that our 20-year-old cat could sense hypoglycemia. One night, he jumped hard on my stomach and pawed at me. I realized how shaky I was and checked my blood sugar. It was critically low. He followed me to the kitchen, and I got some sugar in me. Then, he just went back to sleep.

These Animals Changed LivesPexels

47. Snake In The Grass

I went out for a run around my family's land one morning at around 8:00 am. My Doberman, Bonnie, runs along with me all the time. I ran with my music on, so I was completely oblivious to the danger that lay ahead.

There was a Copperhead headed straight for me. It struck out at me and missed only slightly. When I realized what it was, I panicked and fell. It came back, and Bonnie jumped in front of it and took the bite herself.

Her cry was horrible; it had her right hind leg. She managed to turn around and rip it off, proceeding to tear it apart. Afterward, she fell to the ground, and her breathing was getting quicker. I picked her up—as heavy as she was—and ran her to my truck. I drove as fast as I could to the vet.

Thankfully I got her there quick enough for them to save her. My dog saved me from that Copperhead.

These Animals Changed LivesPexels

48. There Was No Escaping

When I was about six, I lived pretty close to a lake. I was splashing around with my grandma and my German shepherd. As I was walking out of the lake, some dude ran up and grabbed me. I started wailing while he was running off, still holding me. My grandma and I were both freaking out, and she couldn't exactly do much.

My German shepherd tackled the back of this dude’s leg, and he went down pretty hard, as did I. It was like a cheesy movie, except it all happened really fast. The guy managed to initially get away after fighting off my dog but eventually showed up at a hospital for bite wounds and was taken into custody shortly after.

Who knows what could have been if my dog had not been there. He was the best dog I've ever owned.

These Animals Changed LivesPexels

49.  No Longer On The Fence About This Dog

One day, I was home alone and fell asleep in my living room. I woke up when it was dark and walked into the kitchen that had a sliding glass door leading to the backyard. I realized I could hear the outside noises and my brother’s pitbull panting at the door. The door should not have been open. I had not left it open, and when I turned on the light, it was open all the way.

I immediately backed into the living room with that horrible feeling that someone was in the house with me. I was already trembling as I sat down. I knew I had to check the house before I freaked out and called for help, left the house, or acted before I had a genuine excuse to be scared. I hesitantly called in my brother’s dog.

I had always been raised not to judge breeds, but I had also been raised not to trust a pit bull that didn't know me since it was a puppy. Before this night, I'll admit, she scared me. There is no way to describe the absolute change in that animal’s posture when she came in. She was 70 lbs of fat, but all of it was pulled taut in attention.

Moving in a defensively alert stance, she came into the house and did a quick patrol of the area before coming to me and sitting, leaning towards me.  Once I grabbed her collar, she led me to the door. I called my dad and brothers, and both arrived to scope everything out. They told me I was overreacting and must have left the gate ajar, which allowed the dog to nose the glass door open.

I left with my dad to go to my sister’s house, adamant the gate was closed. But the next day, my dad found something shocking. He took me outside to see a part of the fence with a ripped piece of fabric hanging on top like someone’s shirt.

There was also a cluster of footprints—from a man and a dog—under it, as well as a muddy print on the wall and scratches from a dog trying to get something. To this day, I wonder what would have happened if that dog had been kenneled and not loose in the yard. I am also no longer afraid of her.

These Animals Changed LivesPexels

50. Dachsh-ed To The Rescue

When I was in the 6th grade, my mom went grocery shopping, and when she got home, a man was in our house, looting us. When she walked in the kitchen door from the garage, he was waiting for her with a blade. He pulled her inside without shutting the door. We had three dachshunds at the time, and all three ran outside immediately.

They were terrified of this strange, scary dude in their house. They never went outside without us, and our next-door neighbor saw them pacing back and forth just outside the garage door, looking worried and crying.  As a result, the neighbor came over to our house to see what was up. The guy in our house pulled her inside too.

However, my mom and the neighbor managed to break away and run in separate directions. The guy cut and ran. He was caught the next day sleeping in a tent in someone's backyard. If our dogs hadn't gone outside and cried, my mom would probably have been done for.

These Animals Changed LivesPexels


Sources: Reddit.

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