PG 18 AROUND THE WORLD

Pets (Singapore) - - Contents -

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

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