Closing one year and welcoming a new one is incredibly exciting. While this year was action-packed, to say the least, next is sure to bring many, many more surprises. Animal activists and organizations across the world have worked tirelessly this year to bring about change for animals and we can only imagine the wonderful things that are in store for next.

It can be difficult to keep motivated in the fight for animals. As animal lovers we have all been shocked or discouraged by the actions wrought against animals at one time or another. But, if this year has taught us anything, it is the importance of carrying on in defense of the world’s voiceless animals against all odds. We have come far, but there is still a long way to go in the world of animal rights, captivity and entertainment. So, in order to help you kick off the new year on the right foot, we wanted to recap all the awesome things that people have done for animals in 2014. We have little doubt that we’ll be able to top this in 2015!

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1. Man Dives Into the Ocean to Rescue a 400-lb Black Bear

After Animal Control tried to sedate a black bear who was roaming through a neighborhood in Alligator Point, Florida, the drowsy bear wandered into the bay and started to drown. Seeing the bear in distress, a kind bystander jumped in and helped tow the bear all the way to shore. Read the full story here.

 

X Times People Did Amazing Things for Animals in 2014

2. Russian Sailors Rescue Dog Stranded on Ice

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3. Firefighter Goes to Great Lengths to Save a Kitten

4. Theo the Dog Gets a Life-Changing Make Over

5. Animal Place Helps to Rescue 1,800 Egg-Laying Hens

6. Animal Rescue Corps Saves 136 Dogs from Puppy Mill

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7. Orphaned Elephant Calf Rescued via Helicopter

8. Diver Saves Sea Turtle and Receives a Big Thank You

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9. Patrick the Pit Bull Rescued from Trash Chute Makes Full Recovery!

After being abandoned in a garbage chute, Patrick was rescued and cared for for months until he made a full recovery. Patrick has been adopted and now gets to celebrate every holiday with the people he loves! See his full transformation here.

X Times People Did Amazing Things for Animals in 2014

10. Divers Free Manta Ray From Fishing Line

11. Kind Passerby Saves Stuck Hummingbird

12. Man Dives Into Frozen Lake to Rescue Bird

This man in Norway saw a duck frozen upside down under the ice in a nearby lake. In no time at all he was able to rescue the bird and get him warm and happy again. Read the full story here.

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X Times People Did Amazing Things for Animals in 2014

13. Florida Beach Goers Band Together to Help Beach Manatee Back Into Water

14. Man Crawls on Thin Ice to Save Drowning Dog

15. Man Drives Car Into Canal to Rescue Dog

16. The Humane Society of the United States Rescues 50 Dogs From Dogfighting Ring

17. Rescue Workers From Animals Aid Unlimited Save Injured Cow From Garbage Pit

18.  Raju the Elephant is Freed After Spending 50 Years in Captivity!

The story of Raju the elephant captivated an international audience when news that he had been rescued from a life in misery working on the streets of India made headlines. Raju’s freedom was secured with the help of Wildlife SOS and he is now learning how to be an elephant in the care of the Wildlife SOS elephant sanctuary. Read the full story here.

X Times People Did Amazing Things for Animals in 2014Wildlife SOS

19. Night Divers Rescue Bottlenose Dolphin From Fishing Line

20. Heroic River Boarder Saves Drowning Squirrel

 

 

So Green Monsters, what were your favorite stories about humans going to amazing lengths to help animals? Tell us in the comments!

Lead image source: Becky Bickerstaff and Adam Warwick of The Nature Conservancy