Heroes come in all shapes and sizes and sometimes they’re covered in fur. There’s a deep and powerful impact that pets can have on our lives – whether it’s their daily love and affection, their companionship on tough days, or their push to get us out of bed even when we don’t feel our best. There’s a special bond between a pet and a pet parent that is filled with an abundance of unconditional love and although we’re the ones that rescue them, more often than not they rescue us. A wagging tail, big eyes and a wet nose – these are the heroes we’re talking about. There’s nothing a slobbery kiss can’t fix!

We’ve rounded up 5 outstanding dogs who were a part of a nationwide search from “I and love and you” to find amazing fur-babies that have gone above and beyond for their parent, proving to us humans that yes, some heroes do wear collars.

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1. Jan W.

“Who saved who? After my daughter was diagnosed with brain cancer, we decided to get a dog to cheer up the house. We went to the humane society and found Lola. All through Courtney’s radiation and chemo, Lola stuck by her side! Wherever Courtney went, Lola was right there beside her and made everything bearable. When Courtney was finally cancer free after one and half years, Lola knew it. She still slept in her room but also spent her time with other family members. It was like she knew Courtney was sick and had to take care of her. Although we rescued Lola, I think she really rescued us!”

2. Teresa R.

“After I lost my sweet Pepper, I vowed never to go through that again. I volunteer weekly for our local shelter and saw so many good dogs who needed me. A month after Pepper’s passing, sweet Dexter found me. At a year and a half old, Dexter is a peaches & cream Lab that is a truly wonderful companion, running buddy and an incredible advocate for rescue dogs to the public. Some people still think “pound” dogs are somehow defective – his sweet personality and good looks show them that’s certainly not true!”

3. Corey N.

“When we met, Fred was in a chicken wire pen filled with soiled newspaper and was so afraid of me. Once I put him in my arms, he relaxed and laid his head on my shoulder. I handed him to my mom and was immediately calmed and laid on her chest throughout our entire hour car ride. I think she cured him of his fear in that hour because when we got into town, he was happy and alert, and even picked his first toy at the pet store!

Over the next three years, our mom’s health deteriorated. In January of this year, as I was on my way back with groceries, she had a heart attack. When I got home, I called for Fred, said “hi, mom”, and heard my boy crying and barking. Our mom was collapsed in her chair, and he had his head on her chest. She passed away that night and I couldn’t have been more devastated. When I came home without her, it was like he knew what happened. For the first few days, I couldn’t get out of bed, and Freddie stayed with me, asking only for food and to go outside. But once he deemed I was being too docile, he started prodding me to get up, he would bring his rope and literally try to pull me out of bed. I believe that if I didn’t have Fred, I may still be stuck in bed, doing nothing to help get over my grief. Fred saved my life by just being a good boy and making sure his best friend didn’t go over the edge.”

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4. Ginger H.

“Callie and Heidi (litter-mates) were adopted almost six years ago. As a teacher, I work with several students that have severe special needs, some physical, some cognitive, some emotional.  At times it can be difficult to make a connection to a child who is guarded or shut down. Although my dogs have never had direct contact with the students I teach, they have both been heroes to my students. One way I try to bridge this gap is by telling stories about my two crazy dogs. It’s almost startling when a child who has never made eye contact with you before suddenly looks you directly in the eyes because they were surprised and interested in what you just shared. Although my dogs will never know their impact, they have been heroes to many.”

5. Sarah W.

“My boy, Tucker, is a pitbull mix from the local animal shelter. He was mistreated and neglected during his former life, and it showed. When we first adopted him, he looked so sad. His fur was dull and patchy around his eyes, and his skin was flaky. He was thin and just so ‘pitiful’. After being with us, he’s been loved and cared for…and it shows. He went from being an unloved ‘pitbull’ to the poster boy for just how amazing those “vicious” pitbulls are! He is the sweetest and most loving pup we’ve ever known or seen. Tucker has brought a loving calmness into our home. We need him and he needs us…so, who rescued who?”

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