PG 18 AROUND THE WORLD
The most touching animal stories ever.
Animals are capable of so much love, compassion and bravery, more than we give them credit for. Here are some of the most touching stories from around the world.
BY GILLIAN LIM
BOB THE BUSKING CAT
Recovering heroin addict James Bowen had been living on the streets of London for 10 years before he moved into a supported housing flat; he was barely making a living by busking.
One day, an injured ginger cat appeared on his doorstep with no collar and identification. Despite James’ multiple attempts to shake the feline off, the kitty followed him everywhere. James decided to take responsibility for the ginger— which he named Bob—even though that meant spending his already meagre earnings on Bob’s medication.
Never leaving his new paw-rent’s side, Bob quickly became James’ busking companion and perched himself on the street musician’s shoulder or guitar, unfazed by the flashing cameras and growing crowd. The pair went viral on social media, to the point where they drew the attention of literary agents. James ended up signing a book deal and A Street Cat Named Bob: And How He Saved My Life was published in March 2012; the film adaptation was released in November 2016.
James wrote in his book: “I believe it came down to this little man. He came and asked me for help, and he needed me more than I needed to abuse my own body.”
JAKE THE FIRE DOG
Jake the Hanahan Pitbull was only three weeks old when he found himself trapped in a burning shed in September 2015. Bill Lindler, a local firefighter and the pup’s neighbour, came to the rescue and saved the canine, which ended up with burns on
75 percent of his body.
After Bill found out that Jake’s owners had abandoned him at the clinic because they couldn’t afford the vet fees, he decided to adopt the pooch. Surrounded by the loving squad at the Hanahan Fire Department, the sweet Pitbull recovered quickly.
Now, Jake is the official mascot of the fire department and goes to schools on educational trips to teach children about fire safety. He even has his own fire badge and an oath, signed by Hanahan mayor Minnie Newman, promising to make kids smile with his charming personality!
OSCAR THE NURSING HOME CAT
Little Oscar was adopted by the Steere House Nursing & Rehabilitation Centre in Providence, Rhode Island in 2005. As a therapy cat, Oscar comforted the home’s dementia and Alzheimer’s patients.
During Oscar’s first year as a permanent resident at the 41-unit advanced dementia unit, staff observed that the feline would pace from room to room, sniff and look at patients, but rarely spend time with anyone—except those who had mere hours to live.
Often, Oscar would be the first responder on the floor to realise that a resident was about to die, and he’s proven staff wrong as well. Nurses once placed the kitty on the bed of a patient they thought was about to pass away, but Oscar dashed off to sit beside another patient. Turns out, the second patient died that evening, while the first lived for two more days. He’s so accurate that staff know it’s time to call family members when Oscar stretches out beside a patient.
To date, Oscar has accurately predicted over 100 deaths, and continues to hold vigil over departing patients. The intuitive feline has even been thanked by families in obituaries for providing comfort to their loved ones in their final moments of life.
MILA THE BELUGA WHALE
As part of a free-diving contest in Harbin, China, contestants had to sink to the bottom of Polar Land’s 6m-deep aquarium arctic pool and stay there amid the Beluga whales for as long as possible.
One of the finalists, Yang Yun, was preparing to resurface when she developed leg cramps from the freezing cold. Paralysed, the diver began to choke and sink further, believing she was going to die. That’s when Mila the Beluga whale dove into action even before organisers spotted the problem. Sensing something was wrong, she gripped the diver’s leg gently in her mouth and pushed her to the surface, saving her life. Competition officials commented afterwards that Mila is an incredibly sensitive animal that’s used to working with humans, hence, she was able to sense the diver’s distress even before anybody else did.
Bob and James Bowen
Jake and Bill Lindler
Mila the Belga whale and Yang Yun
Oscar the therapy cat