Man has always considered most animals as enemies and animals generally consider only those as enemies whom they can eat or be eaten by.

But there are exceptions to all rules and there have been instances where people have been able to strike a friendship with the wildest of beasts with amazing results.

Today we will discover how animals have sensed the danger people have been in and rescued them. What is astounding is that many of these animals have not been the pets of the people they saved or been known to them.

The instincts of animals are very strong and probably that was why they were able to sense the distress the people were in and thus rescue them from danger, even if it meant putting themselves at risk while doing so!

Stray Pit bull saves woman and child from attack

In 2008, a woman and her young son had been walking home from a playground. As they entered a parking lot, a man holding a knife approached them and told them not to make any movements. A large pit bull ran out of nowhere and charged the man, who quickly fled.

An animal control authority said they had no idea what the man’s intentions were but it was very possible that the dog saved Angela’s and her son’s lives.

Lions save girl from kidnappers

Nobody can expect a kind deed from the king of animals — lion, at least me. But this incident made me wonder if this wild beast also has a soft heart.

In June 2005, a 12-year-old girl was snatched by four men in rural south-west Ethiopia as she made her way home from school. A week after the kidnapping, her captors were attempting to move her, with police in hot pursuit, when three lions chased the men off.

The lions remained with the terrified girl until police officers arrived to escort her to safety. She told them that although she had been beaten by her kidnappers — the lions had not touched her.

Sergeant Wondmu Wedaj said, “They stood guard until we found her and then they just left her like a gift and went back into the forest. Everyone thinks this is some kind of miracle, because normally the lions would attack people.”

An Ethiopian wildlife expert claimed that the lions may have spared the girl because her cries had sounded like the mewing of a cub.

Horse protects owner from a raging cow

Rancher Fiona Boyd was leading a stray calf into a shed when the calf’s enraged mother suddenly charged her, knocked her down and proceeded to stampede over her.

“I was absolutely terrified, and remember rolling up into a ball to protect my head from her hooves,” she recalled. That’s when Kerry, a horse, that was grazing nearby, immediately leaped to assist her. The horse bucked and kicked at the cow until it moved away, likely saving Boyd from being trampled to death.

Dog saved woman from drowning

Brenda Owen had gone out for a quick walk with her dog when she spotted a wheelchair on the riverbank; she saw a woman floating in the river. She called out to her but there was no reply. So she told her dog, Penny, to “Fetch! Fetch!” without hesitation the dog ran into the river, swam to the woman and pulled her to the shore.

Brenda said that Penny has always been a very obedient dog and despite being 10 years old, she was still very fit.

Dog saves boy from snake

In Texas, way back in 1982, a two-year-old child had been walking with his grandmother when Arf, the family dog, became very agitated. The dog became so agitated that the grandmother thought it best to take the child inside.

Mrs Sparks, the child’s mother, came out to find Arf in a fight with a 24-inch North American coral snake, she shot the snake but Arf had a lot of bites and scratches and had to be admitted into a veterinary hospital for 24 days. It is not known whether the dog survived or not.

Beluga whale saves drowning diver

In the Polarland Aquarium in Harbin, China, a free diving contest in 20-foot-deep, arctic-temperature whale tank was held with seven divers who were not allowed to use breathing apparatus. The winning prize was to apply for a job as a whale trainer.

Diver Yang Yun was part of a competition to hold her breath for as long as possible in a pool of beluga whales. The dive was going smoothly until she tried to move her legs and she couldn’t because of leg cramp which prevented her from swimming properly. That’s when Mila, one of the beluga whales, came to her rescue.

Sensing something was wrong, the animal swam to the drowning diver, took Yun’s leg in her mouth and lifted her to the surface to breathe, saving her life.

Gorilla saves boy from attack

On August 16, 1996, in the Brookfield Zoo, a three-year-old boy fell into a gorilla enclosure. The 18-foot drop left him unconscious and with a critical head injury. Binti Jua, a female lowland gorilla, guarded the young boy from the other gorillas in the enclosure. She then cradled him in her arm (while her own 17 months old baby was on her back) and carried him 60 feet to an entrance where zookeepers could retrieve him.

The police and staff were quick to note that without Binti’s assistance, the situation could have been much worse.

This isn’t an isolated case, on August 31, 1986, at Jersey Zoo a five year old boy fell into a gorilla enclosure and lost consciousness, a large male gorilla named Jambo stood guard over the boy not allowing any of the others to come near, when the boy woke up and started crying all of the gorillas backed off and zoo-keepers (along with an ambulance) were able to retrieve him safely.

Watusi calf saves women from snake

Janice Wolf was in the back pasture of the refuge she operates in Arkansas when her 11-month-old Watusu Calf suddenly turned and blocked her path. She couldn’t understand why it was doing this, so she took hold of its horns and tried pushing it, but it tossed its head and knocked her off balance. That’s when she spotted a copper-head snake on the ground exactly where her foot would have been had if the Watusi calf not intervened.

She said copper-head venom usually isn’t fatal to adults; however, it could well have been fatal to her because she had been extra sensitive to insect bites in the past and had just come out of hospital after a lung operation.

Elephant saves a girl from 2004 tsunami

Eight-year-old Amber Mason was saved by a four-year-old elephant during the 2004 Tsunami in Thailand. Just as the wave struck, the elephant took Amber on its back and ran for higher ground. As the wave crashed around them, the elephant even turned its back to the water, creating a protective wall from the impact.

“If she had been on the beach on her own or with us on the beach, she would

never have lived,” Amber’s mother recalled. “The elephant took the pounding of the wave.”

Dolphins save swimmers from sharks

Rob Howes, a British-born lifeguard, had gone swimming with his daughter, Niccy, and two of her friends off Ocean beach near Whangarei on the North Island of New Zealand, when a group of dolphins suddenly appeared.

The dolphins started to herd the humans; they pushed all four of them together by circling around them. Howes tried to drift away from the group, but two of the bigger dolphins herded him back — just as he spotted a 10ft great white shark heading towards him.

The dolphins kept this up for 40 minutes until the shark lost interest, and the group could swim the 100m back to shore. This was witnessed by another lifeguard, Matt Fleet, on patrol in a lifeboat, saw the dolphins circling the swimmers and slapping their tails on the water to keep them in place.

Dolphins save surfer from shark

On one hot August day, Todd Endris, the 24-year-old owner of Monterey Aquarium services decided to go surfing. While surfing, a 15 foot shark appeared. The shark tried to bite him but could not get its jaws around both the surfer and the surf board. It tried for the second time in which Todd’s internal organs were not harmed, however, he lost a lot of skin from his back, the shark let go and came at Todd for a third time and tried to swallow his right leg.

This gave the surfer the grip he needed to start kicking the shark in the snout until it let go, at this point when Todd was running out of energy and thought he was done for, a pod of dolphins came out and formed a protective ring around him, keeping the shark at bay long enough for Todd to catch a wave back to shore and receive emergency first aid from his friends.

Dolphin saved teenager from drowning

Davide Ceci was 14-years-old and couldn’t swim when he fell out of his father’s boat in south-east Italy; he was within minutes of death when a dolphin, Filippo, came to his rescue.

Filippo had been a popular tourist attraction off Manfredonia in south-east Italy for two years. While Emanuele Ceci was still unaware his son had fallen into the waves, Filippo was pushing him up out of the water to safety.

The dolphin bore down on the boat and got close enough for Davide’s father to grab him.

Published in Dawn, Young World, January 30th, 2015