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They Did What?: 

Hero animals of the internet


Tara the tabby cat became an internet sensation after saving 4-year old Jeremy

As the old newspaper adage goes, ‘Dog Bites Man? That’s not news. Man Bites Dog? That’s news.’ Cat Saves Boy From Dog? That’s 21st century news, as proved by the 20 million views, 100,000 likes and 20,000 comments the below hero cat video received within days of being posted on YouTube last Wednesday.

When four year-old Jeremy Triantafilo was attacked by the neighbour’s pitbull, Tara the tabby raced to his defence; fairly impressive given the relative sizes of Tara’s head and the pitbull’s jaws.  Even more impressive was the speed with which the news flashed around the world, Hero Cat becoming first a hashtag and then a meme.

 Within a week Tara the hero cat had her own line of yoga pants 
Tara now has a website, Facebook page, Google Plus and a Twitter account. She went on to pitch the first ball at a minor league baseball game and has her own line of stretchy black yoga pants. It’s been a week.

So the internet likes cats. Who knew? Tara’s hardly the first feline to hit the spotlight. Fidge the kitten, from Swindon in England, detected breast cancer in her owner and Bob the stray cat not only helped homeless James Bowen get over his heroin addiction but led him to write two books that have now sold over a million copies, with a movie to follow. StreetCatBob has 55,000 followers on Twitter. How many have you got?

Meh, say dog lovers. Dogs can detect cancer too. And while cats act all superior and inscrutable after their heroic acts, sometimes you want a bit more pathos, something a bit more ‘Arnie at the end of Terminator 2’, you know? It takes a dog to do noble, faithful and heartbreaking all at the same time – like this Japanese dog who wouldn’t leave his friend wounded by the 2011 tsunami.

Both were eventually rescued and re-homed. And in case attempting to eat Jeremy Triantafilo gives pitbulls a bad name, don’t forget Baby – the pitbull who last year rescued two sisters from a burning house in Oklahoma.

What if you don’t like dogs or cats? You should be all right as long as there’s a pig in the house, as JoAnn Altsman of Lake Erie found when she had a heart attack. Her daughter’s potbellied pig Lulu ran out into the street to summon help. And there’s always the old fallback, dolphins. British swimmer Andrew Walker went swimming in New Zealand’s shark-infested Cook Strait last month, secure in the knowledge that when the sharks started circling him, a pod of ten dolphins would appear to scare them off. Dolphins are always doing that. They saved American surfers from a Great White in 2011 and last year rescued this woman and her dog when they fell off a cliff. They’ll even rescue stranded whales, which must be embarrassing for the whales – as they are basically just big dolphins.

If you have the misfortune to be kidnapped in Africa, you might be able to count on lions scaring off the kidnappers, as happened in 2005, but you might want to watch the famous ‘Battle At Kruger’ first. The lions are very much the baddies in this brilliant amateur video. The goodies are a herd of water buffalo, who rescue a calf from both the lions AND a crocodile.

Even with no humans involved, it’s a perfect tale of heroism which has been viewed 74 million times. Proving that, when it comes to the internet, it’s the animals’ world. We just video it.

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