The end of a year brings time for reflection: What were our favorite family moments, most enjoyable films, and the memories that will linger for years to come? For dog lovers, this includes a roundup of the most touching tales of dog rescue and recovery, love and loss, and tears and triumph. We took a look at accumulating tales mid-year, but it’s time for another look at some of the year’s greatest highs and lows that still pull at our heartstrings.
One of our mid-year picks makes this list too. At Rover, we often talk about the unconditional love of a dog, so it’s great to see a defining moment when humans give back that unconditional affection in the form of life-saving aid, including a very real kiss of life. These Colombian police officers don’t need to speak English in this video as they pluck this pup from a raging river and perform CPR: the language of love is universal.
Devotion extends beyond all borders, including in this story of recovery for a dog and his partner defending our country. Specialist Andrew Brown and Rocky, part of the 89th Military Police Brigade, were both injured in an IED blast while searching a structure in Afghanistan. Veterinarians in Germany treated Rocky’s wounds, and the two were photographed recovering together—and, at one point, were even sharing a room. Brown put his Purple Heart on Rocky’s collar. It’s a truly international story of facing danger together and overcoming adversity.
Adversity doesn’t always come from an external source. Some dogs have been trained to help people deal with battles that come from within. Danielle Jacobs posted this intimate moment of how her dog Samson alerts to self-harm and helps her deal with depression and other affects of her aspergers syndrome. When we’re prone to harmful thoughts, our four-legged friends can show us that that they knows us better than we know ourselves, offering us the real comfort and consideration we need.
They may stand by us through all sorts of opposition, but they’ll also stand by each other. When Tillie and Phoebe went missing, their pet parents feared the worst. The basset hound (Phoebe) was trapped in a cistern, and may not have been spotted except that her canine companion Tillie stood guard for a week until volunteer search teams found them. USA Today reported the whole story of devotion brought to us from Vashon Island in Washington state.
This story of friends is worthy of its own sitcom, so it’s appropriate these two dogs were named Monica and Chandler after their rescue. Although the rescue team has the best of intentions, these two look out for one another and don’t trust easily. With the obvious Romeo-and-Juliet bond of these two, the pair was not separated but offered together for their forever home.
Every year kids write letters to Santa, but rarely do we hear that he writes one back. Barkpost.com shared the Facebook story of the Barger family in Licking County, Ohio, following the loss of their dog Russell. Santa offers his sympathies, but provides an address for this year’s Christmas present…
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the address was the local Humane Society, or that “Santa” had a new dog for them. Their new family member was named Athena, now with a forever home (and named appropriately after the goddess of love).
We never said all the heartwarming stories had to be fact: Sometimes fiction does a lot to inspire our hearts, minds, and homes. This 2015 tale of a lost dog, and the devotion of both human and horse partners, goes a long way to reminding us that affection transcends size and species.
Russian leader Vladimir Putin took the time to answer 12-year old Olga Maruchshenko’s holiday wish for a husky. The underprivileged girl’s family couldn’t afford such a dog, and Olga’s mother never expected an answer to the little girl’s letter, but Putin ordered a purebred husky for the girl (and a present for her sister as well). The joy of this little girl and her new best friend became a presidential affair.
The serenity prayer asks for the following: “Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” Sometimes the tiniest moment can be its own heartwarming story, and perhaps even a metaphor, as little Buck struggles to learn that he cannot growl, bark, or bite away his evil enemy: the hiccups.
Vanity Fair and other magazines may have focused on another Caitlyn this year, but here at Rover we’re enamored with People magazine‘s Caitlyn the dog, recognized as “The Best Survival Story of 2015“. Found wandering the streets of North Charleston with her muzzle taped shut, the horror story turns heartwarming thanks the groundswell of support and amazing recovery. The Staffordshire Bull Terrier mix not only survived, but maintains trust and love for humans despite mistreatment at the hands of one. Despite abusive attempts to quite literally silence her, this courageous canine has found her voice as a symbol for change.
Heartwarming stories abound, of course, thanks to the wonderful hearts of our four-legged friends as well as caring pet parents. If we missed your favorite story of 2015, be sure to share it with us! These kind of stories renew our hope and faith for 2016 and beyond.
Top image via koin.com