Heartwarming heroic animal stories that will inspire you

Nov 1, 2014 at 3:43 p.m. ET
Image: Photo Credit: From Unlikely Heroes - Workman Publishing. Photo © Christie Pace

We live in a world that tends to highlight tragedy and hopeless hardship, so we are thrilled to buck the trend and bring you uplifting news of a recently released book that highlights heroism despite hardship.

UNLIKELY HEROES: 37 Inspiring Stories of Courage and Heart from the Animal Kingdom (Workman; October 2014)

In Unlikely Heroes (Workman, October 2014), author Jennifer S. Holland shares 37 inspiring stories of animals saving lives, overcoming disabilities and being an endless source of encouragement for us humans. Holland, who also wrote New York Times bestsellers Unlikely Friendships and Unlikely Loves, gave us a peak into her newest heartwarming book. If the current state of affairs in the world has you down, these seven heroic animals are sure to lift your spirits.

Willie the parrot saves a 2-year-old from dying

Heroic parrot saves a toddler

Photo Credit: from Unlikely Heroes - Workman Publishing. Photo © Tamara Reynolds Photography

Teach your parrot to talk, and it may just save a life. This sweet squawker alerted the babysitter when his owner’s 2-year-old daughter began choking. Willie frantically repeated “Mama! Baby!” until the babysitter ran to the child and gave her the Heimlich maneuver.

Shadow is a canine in the clouds

Brave dog hang-glides with owner

Photo Credit: from Unlikely Heroes - Workman Publishing. Photo © Jim Urquhart/Reuters

Shadow certainly lives up to the adage "A dog is man's best friend." This fearless canine helped his owner, Dan, overcome his bipolar disorder and never leaves Dan’s side, even when Dan partakes in his favorite hobby, hang gliding!

Naki'o is the inspiring bionic dog

Inspiring dog wears prosthetics

Photo Credit: from Unlikely Heroes - Workman Publishing. Photo © Christie Pace

Our pets are remarkably adaptable, making them a source of endless encouragement. After losing all his paws to frostbite as a pup, Naki’o learned to walk on prosthetics and now serves as an inspiration to people of all ages living with disabilities.

Koshka the infantry kitty helped her owner survive Iraq

War kitty comforts soldiers

Photo Credit: from Unlikely Heroes - Workman Publishing. Photo © Jesse Knott

When Jesse, an American soldier on tour in Iraq, found out two of his friends were killed in combat, he was devastated. He credits his cat, Koshka, for helping him get through the night by staying at his side, purring and comforting him through the loss.

Kerry the mare stopped a mad cow

Brave horse protects owner from mad cow

Photo Credit: from Unlikely Heroes - Workman Publishing. Photo © Murdo Macleod

When Kerry the mare saw her owner, Fiona, needing rescue from a cow gone mad, the brave horse kicked the cow away and stayed with Fiona until she safely made it to the fence.

Gimpy the blind seal saves a volunteer's life

Blind seal saves a life

Photo Credit: from Unlikely Heroes - Workman Publishing. Photo © Hugh Ryono

Despite being blind, Gimpy the seal defended a marine mammal center volunteer from a pack of aggressive seal pups after he slipped and hit his head in the seal pen.

Sea otters are supermoms

Sea otter is a supermom for orphans

Photo Credit: from Unlikely Heroes - Workman Publishing. Photo © Monterey Bay Aquarium, photo by Randy Wilder

Let this story about animals unconditionally loving other animals warm your heart. Joy is a sea otter supermom at the Monterey Bay Aquarium that helps raise orphaned sea otter pups, ensuring that they grow strong enough to make it on their own in the wild. The aquarium has other sea otter supermoms just like Joy.

Unlikely Heroes highlights 30 other amazingly courageous animals that will make you love our animal friends even more. Their fearlessness and unconditional love for others may even change your life!

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