We might not be able to agree on what animal makes the best pet (cats for the win!), but there’s one thing just about every animal lover knows to be true: they’d do anything for their furry friends. Honestly, who wouldn’t be willing to go above and beyond to rescue an animal in need?
Sometimes this means putting yourself in harm’s way to save an unlucky critter. Luckily, many of these heroes have been caught on camera in the moments surrounding their amazing rescues, and the photos are unbelievable…
1. They call ’em manholes—not catholes—and this little kitten was all out of sorts when he fell into one. As for the fireman, well, he didn’t mind navigating dark, cramped, and smelly quarters to find this little fella and bring him to safety.
2. This young hero nearly sacrificed everything when he put himself in danger in order to keep this puppy above the water. The kid could barely take a step without sucking in a mouthful of water, but he successfully kept the puppy dry!
3. This man was on the beach when a baby dolphin washed up on the shore. Clearly not one to miss an opportunity to lend a helping hand, he grabbed the animal and rushed it back to the ocean.
4. When a cat couldn’t catch her breath after surviving a fire, this firefighter grabbed the tools that are normally reserved for humans and brought her back from the brink. The kitty was thankful for the oxygen—and for her new hero!
5. These two guys didn’t hesitate when they saw a lamb tumbling helplessly down a raging river. Without even taking off any clothes, one jumped right into the torrent while his friend held on tightly to his hand. Amazingly, they pulled off the daring rescue!
6. Natural disasters can be an animal’s worst nightmare. When Bali’s Mount Agung looked ready to burst, a small team rushed in to rescue the area’s animals. Wearing a protective mask to avoid the noxious fumes, this guy risked it for a monkey.
7. Most goose-related experiences leave something to be desired, but that didn’t stop this firefighter from giving this bird some much-needed oxygen when it was struggling to breathe.
8. Great pets can come in small packages, and this firefighter knew it! Thinking outside the box, he pulled out a little hose connected to an oxygen tank and used it to help give this baby hamster a fresh breath of air after it was rescued from a house fire.
9. Kangaroos are known for their elite jumping prowess, but even this little joey couldn’t hop his way out of a messy flood. Luckily, one man was willing to brave rough conditions and see that the little ‘roo made it to dry land.
10. Historic floods tore through America’s deep South in the fall of 2016, threatening cats, dogs, and even livestock. But a Mississippi man named Jonah wasn’t about to abandon them. Thinking fast, he built a makeshift ark and brought these sheep to safety.
11. Parents have been warning children about the dangers of traffic for years, but this kid had a good excuse to disobey: a car had struck this poor dog and he couldn’t move. Risking life and limb, the boy rushed out, scooped him up, and brought him to safety.
12. Recently, a terrible fire tore through a Wisconsin home and threatened this seven-year-old dog, Koda. But fear not! This firefighter pulled her from the fire and performed life-saving mouth-to-mouth. The biggest surprise? He had no animal rescue training!
13. When MMA fighter Cathal Pendred spotted a dolphin that had washed up on the shore, he used all of his strength to hoist up the mammal and bring it back to the water where it could safely swim free.
14. There’s no doubt that this cat knew she’d just been rescued from certain death. As the firefighter pulled the feline from the blaze, the cat clung to her neck, shaken—but safe once more!
15. When the Bosnia and Herzegovina village of Vojskova flooded, a few guys took a boat around the waterways, looking for humans in need of a hand. However, they didn’t expect to find a stranded pig on a roof! Nonetheless, they set to work and saved him.
16. When fires torched Los Angeles and huge swaths of California, no animal was safe from the flames. That’s why it was so beautiful when this guy risked his life to rescue a rabbit who was trapped beside the flames along the highway. His good deed sparked cheers from every corner of the Internet!
17. There have been many occasions in history when a human chain came in handy. One such time occurred after these passersby spotted a dog drowning in a dam. Thankfully, they pulled the waterlogged pup to safety!
18. This furry pooch was in some serious trouble when she fell into deep water. Luckily, firefighters pulled her on to the dock in time, ensuring that she could wag her tail another day. Now, somebody get her a towel and a treat!
19. Even birds need help sometimes. When this young orphaned owl wasn’t ready to stretch his wings and escape his predicament, a firefighter stepped in and brought him to safety. Looks like he was pretty grateful!
20. This cat was pulled from a raging fire just in time to save his life. Some, however, have (jokingly) suggested that his face in this picture indicates that he might have had something to do with the blaze!
21. Now these were some kids who’d seen an episode of MacGyver or two. Using a lunchbox, the kids created a human chain to reach a pup trapped in a cement riverbed. Good thing the kids packed a lunch!
22. When a building collapsed—likely due to fire—this dirty little ragamuffin found himself trapped inside. Lucky for him, rescue workers weren’t afraid of the rubble and collapsing beams, and they were able to get this pooch some fresh air.
23. What happened when a Nordic bird ended up stranded in the middle of a frozen lake? A shirtless, animal-loving man jumped into the water to save her, obviously. They even had time afterwards to pose for a pretty picture!
24. After this guy swam out to snatch a drowning fawn from flood waters, he held her above the surface almost triumphantly as he waded back to shore. They both reached dry land safely!
25. This kid did his pup a real solid by carrying him, piggyback-style, through some intense flood waters. The steely determination on the boy’s face pretty much says it all: he wasn’t ever letting this puppy go!
26. This poor pup was paddling for his life in trash-infested waters when a few heroic men managed to spot him. They could’ve ended up in that filthy river themselves, but they held on tight and pulled off a daring rescue for the ages.
27. Fishermen on one European vessel likely rubbed their eyes in disbelief when they first spotted a dog stranded on a solitary block of ice the middle of the ocean. One crew member risked the frigid waters to swim out and rescue the dog.
28. When this dog escaped a smoke-filled building in Connecticut, he needed more than just a good bath—and this firefighter was prepared. Not only did he run into a burning building to save the pooch, but he gave the little guy some badly needed water!
29. One look at firefighter Ray Spellmyer’s face told onlookers that the blaze that threatened this poodle, named Joseph, was no joke. Ray actually ran back into the burning building to rescue three more poodles after this photo was taken!
30. When rescue workers pulled this hefty pooch from a flood, they must have wondered if their boat was big enough. Nevertheless, they stood firm and carried the struggling dog out of harm’s way!
Ice, fire, floods—it didn’t matter to these humans. They saw pets and animals in trouble and did what they had to! Isn’t that just so inspiring?
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