The past year may have been a tough one for some people. With all the bad news out there, it can be easy to feel down, frustrated, or hopeless. But 2015 was also a great year for inspirational stories from our canine friends. These dogs remind us to never give up, to keep pushing, and to overcome the things that might hold us back. Here are the most inspirational dogs of 2015 that reminded us to love and persevere, no matter what.
Never underestimate the power of a loving gesture. Over the summer, the “hugging dogs” went viral after a photo of the pair huddled together in a Georgia animal shelter was posted on Facebook. The two were scheduled to be euthanized, but people all over the world were touched and support poured in. A volunteer fostered the pups, and a few months later, Kala and Kiera were on their way to a new forever home with a pair of human best friends. These two reminded us that even a small sign of love can do very powerful things.
When Harley’s owners adopted him in 2011, they were sure he didn’t have long to live. He was rescued from a puppy mill, and he was in rough shape. He lived in deplorable conditions and his cage was power washed with him inside, which left him with a missing eye, a broken tail, gnarled toes, heart disease, and infected teeth. But his love for life and his new home kept him going and he became a mascot for the “Harley to the Rescue” campaign to save puppy mill dogs like him. The ASPCA named Harley the 2015 American Hero Dog for his work. Harley is a great example of why we should never give up and always help others.
Purin the Beagle doesn’t just play fetch like most dogs. She catches balls with her front paws like a tiny little goalkeeper. In fact, she set the world record for most balls caught with the front paws in under a minute last year. But she didn’t let that stop her from shattering her own record this year, catching 14 balls with her front paws in a minute. She also holds the record for the fastest 10 meters traveled on a ball by a dog (11.90 seconds). Purin reminds us all to keep pushing to do better, and to have fun while doing it!
When Slim the Pit Bull was found a year ago in an abandoned home, he was emaciated and scared. After a year in the shelter, he opened up a lot to staff and other humans, but he still wasn’t getting adopted. Slim had a lot of love to give, but no one to give it to. So he gave his love to a metal bucket, the only toy he could play with without tearing it apart. A photo of the pup and his bucket went viral, and adoption requests poured in. People figured if a dog could love a bucket that much, he could love a family even more. Slim’s story inspires us to find love, even when it seems impossible.
Figo the Golden Retriever service dog loves his blind owner and guides her around like he’s been trained to do. But this summer Figo went above and beyond and jumped in front of a bus, taking the majority of the impact, to save his owner. Despite an injured paw, he hobbled over to his owner, who was also injured, and stayed with her until help arrived. Over the next few months, the pair recovered and Figo was able to return home with a hero’s welcome. Figo’s story is touching and sets an example for us all to put others’ needs before our own.
Derby the Husky mix was born with deformed front legs. He didn’t let that stop him from getting around, but it left him with cuts and injuries at times. Well thanks to 3D Systems, a company that uses 3D printers, Derby got a fully customized pair of prosthetic legs that let him run around and play like any other dog. Now he’s happy to speed along without getting caught up on different terrain and without getting injured. It shows us what can happen when love and technology come together to make the world a better place.
Hope for Paws got a call about a dog living in a hospital parking lot and knew they had to step in to help. They set up a late night rescue and ran with the pup until she tired herself out. Oakley the dog was fearful, but once she knew these humans were there to help, she calmed down. With a bath and some grooming, she looked like a new dog. She slowly worked up her trust for humans and went through a complete transformation. Her story shows us the power love has to change people and animals, even in the worst times.
When the Daniels family rescued their Pit Bull, Ember, they had no idea that she would become their savior in return. This summer, Mrs. Daniels woke to Ember making very strange noises by her bed in the night. She knew something was wrong, so she followed the pup into the bathroom where her son, Tre, had fallen in the tub. Tre suffered a seizure, but thanks to Ember’s quick action, he was able to get the medical attention he needed before something terrible happened. Ember’s story shows that one act of kindness can lead to many more and make the world a better place for dogs and humans alike.
At the ripe old age of 15, Poh got the journey of a lifetime. When Poh’s owner heard that the pup didn’t have long to live, he decided to make the last weeks of his dog’s life the best ever. Poh’s journey was chronicled on Instagram as he visited 35 cities and traveled 12,000 miles. In fact, at the time of this post Poh is 16 years old, still going strong and defying the odds. Poh reminds us that it’s never to late to start something new, and that the best days are always ahead.
Chance the dog was paralyzed when a car hit him and left him for dead on the road. But one family gave Chance a chance. Michael, Chance’s new owner, is also paralyzed and knew he and the dog could understand each other’s struggles. Now Chance and Michael stay active and don’t let anything hold them back from doing what they want to do. The pair remind us that if we can understand each other, we can do anything together.
Hope for Paws does a lot of good work to save stray dogs, and like Oakley, Clarabelle the Golden Retriever needed help. She was living and hiding underneath a shipping container. When humans showed up to help her, she was terrified. She even put her paws over her eyes like a frightened child. But with some compassion and patience, her rescuers managed to comfort her, and she started to trust them. After a bath and a trip to the vet, she was a brand new dog and went to live in a foster home. Clarabelle’s story reminds us that compassion and trust can make a positive impact in the world.
Konjo isn’t a big dog. In fact, she’s only two pounds thanks to the unique mix of breeds from her ancestry. But she’s able to use her weight and speed in a way no other dog can. She can run on her front paws faster than any other dog in the world. This year, she managed to beat the world record of Jiff the famous Pomeranian by dashing five meters on her front paws in 2.39 seconds. Jiff still holds the record for running on his hind paws. Konjo serves as an example of how to use your natural talents and abilities to work hard and achieve greatness, and that big things come in small packages.
Hopefully these pups have inspired you throughout the year to spread love and to persevere, no matter how hard things get. What other dogs inspired you in 2015? Let us know in the comments below!