It's a basic fact of existence that animals are better than people. Every animal is a beautiful, amazing creature, but some are next-level incredible, living angels that this world does not deserve. Here are 10 animals whose life stories will genuinely inspire you to be a better person.
1. Rae the Unicorn Golden Retriever
Sometimes an amazing animal comes along and captivates our collective imaginations (and Instagram feeds). Rae, the "unicorn" golden retriever, is one of those animals. Rae went viral this spring thanks to her infectious personality, persevering spirit, and an adorable TikTok video that was viewed more than 6 million times.
All dogs are unicorns in that they're unique and magical in their own special ways, but Rae is a literal unicorn of sorts, too. When Rae was born, she suffered an injury that left her with only her right ear, which migrated to the top of her head—yes, just like a unicorn horn—as she got older. Today, Rae is living proof that being differently-abled doesn't make you any less amazing. Just ask her 226,000 Instagram followers.
2. Cole the Deaf Dog
Cole the Deaf Dog is another pup who's currently doing his part to inspire the Instagram masses. Cole, who has 4,000 followers and counting on Instagram, has been doing his part to help keep people's spirits up during the trying times of the coronavirus pandemic.
For the last two years, Cole's owner, Chris Hannah, has been bringing the adopted pit bull (and certified therapy dog) to Dr. William Mennies Elementary School in Vineland, New Jersey to play with the students and teach them some important lessons about overcoming disabilities and obstacles. Now that schools are closed and social distancing is in place, Cole has taken his message to YouTube and Instagram, where he's staying connected with his old friends from William Mennies Elementary and becoming a virtual inspiration to thousands of others.
3. Lieutenant Dan the Treeing Walker Coonhound
Like his fictional namesake, Lieutenant Dan no longer has all of his appendages. The two-legged pup gets around with the help of a wheelchair and he doesn't let that slow him down at all. Dan, who was born with a birth defect that required him to have both of his back legs amputated, has an "infectious" and "inspiring" joy for life, according to his adopted owners.
Dan hails from New Richmond, Ohio and this spring, he won a nationwide contest to become the 2020 Cadbury Easter Bunny. In addition to playing the iconic holiday character in an upcoming commercial, Lieutenant Dan took home $5,000 as the winner.
4. Lucik The Caring Cat
Dogs don't have a monopoly on being absolutely inspiring and wonderful. Case-in-point: Lucik, who is known as "the caring cat" at the animal hospital he works at in Russia.
Lucik was rescued by workers at Klyk animal hospital in Perm, Russia in 2013, when he was found, abandoned and injured. The workers named the cat "Lucifer" because of his jet black fur and they helped the kitten find purpose in life even though a spinal injury had rendered him paralyzed.
Today, Lucifer, who goes back "Lucik," helps care for other animals at the clinic, even though he still can't walk himself.
"Often, seriously ill patients come to us, and I support them morally, explain that injections are not scary, tell my story that I could not be without doctors, check if the patients are warm in the hospital, and also I am an honorary donor. I have saved more than one life with my blood," Lucik, who has donated his blood more than eight times to help other animals in need, "wrote" on the clinic's blog.
5. Patsy the Australia Wildfire Fighting Dog
There are hero dogs and then there are HERO DOGS. Patsy, a six-year-old kelpie-border collie mix from Corryong, Victoria, Australia, is an all-caps HERO dog. On New Year's Eve, Patsy braved the devastating Australia wildfires to save a whopping 900 sheep. Patsy's owner, Stephen Hill, gushed that he never would have been able to save the sheep without her.
"She's earned front-seat privileges for the rest of her life," Hill gushed to Australian journalists after Patsy's heroic act.
6. Gatubela the Baby-Saving Cat
In October 2019, a cat named Gatubela from Bogotá, Colombia made headlines for her heroism when she saved a toddler from falling down a flight of stairs. The act of valor was captured by a security camera and the touching 45-second clip that went viral shows the cat distracting a wobbly one-year-old named Samuel and luring him away from the edge of a staircase that, it appears, he would have otherwise fallen down.
The video was shared on the Facebook page for Fundación Gatos Bogotanos en Adopción, a cat rescue and adoption organization based in Bogotá, Colombia, along with a post that, in Spanish, reads, "I present to you the hero of the week 😍 catwoman you are a blessing 😻."
7. Winter the Dolphin
Moving away from domestic animals, we have the awe-inspiring Winter the Dolphin. If Winter looks familiar, well, it's probably because she's a dolphin and most of us humans aren't the greatest at telling them apart by sight. But Winter also happens to be famous—she's the star of the Dolphin Tale movies.
Right now, to help bring some joy to people (but, let's face it, mostly kids) who are stuck at home in self-isolation (or, worse, quarantine), Winter and her friends have joined Cameo and are sending personalized video messages to fans. The catch: A personalized vid from Winter and the other animals at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium (CMA) costs $75 0r $79.99. The price tag might seem a little steep, but all proceeds go directly to support Clearwater Marine Aquarium's animal care fund, so it's all for a good cause.
8. Ludwig the Guard Pig
Dogs aren't the only pets with protective instincts. This fact was proved definitively by Ludwig the Potbellied Pig on New Year's Eve 2014, when the 240-pound pet stepped up to keep his family in England safe from a group of burglars. While Ludwig's owners, Mike Maughan and Liane Scholz, were asleep, thieves broke into their house, intending to rob them, only to be chased off by Ludwig, the best (and maybe only) guard pig around.
9. Togo the Sled Dog
In 2011, Time Magazine voted Togo the Sled Dog as the most heroic animal of all time. The pup, who is the subject of his very own new biopic on Disney+, rose to fame for his heroics in 1925, when he did was historians consider to be the bulk of the work among the sled dogs who raced across the frozen Alaskan landscape to bring medicine to the village of Nome when it was ravaged by diphtheria in 1925. If the story sounds familiar, but the name doesn't, that's probably because another do often gets credit for the heroic feat: Balto.
10. Binti Jua the Gorilla
When it comes to inspirationally heroic animals, no list would be complete without mentioning Binti Jua, a gorilla who saved a three-year-old boy who fell into her enclosure in 1996. Binti Jua was eight years old at the time. She carried the young boy to safety after he fell nearly 20 feet into the Western Lowland Gorilla Pit at the Brookfield Zoo in Illinois.
In video from the incident, the young boy can be seen lying on the ground before Binti Jua carefully picks him up around the waist and carries him to a door where rescuers waited to retrieve him. Today, Binti Jua is 32-years-old and still living at the Brookfield Zoo outside Chicago.
These are just a few of the heroic, inspiring, and otherwise amazing animals who share our world and make it a much, much better place in the process.