Famous Stories of Animals Helping People in Miraculous Ways

Animal Miracles Happen to Humans in Need

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Miracles can happen when people need help and animals reach out to them. Frank Siteman/Getty Images

People and animals often enjoy loving relationships with each other. When people adopt domesticated animals into their families as pets, animals give humans the blessings of companionship and fun in return. In the wild, people show their love to animals by taking care of the environment that the animals depend upon to survive, and wild animals reward humans with displays of their God-given beauty and power. But beyond those common bonds of love, God may bring people and animals together in miraculous ways. Here are some famous animal miracle stories in which believers say the Creator has worked through his creatures to help people in need.

Rescuing People From Danger

Animals sometimes carry out dramatic rescues of people in dangerous situations, miraculously sensing human needs and jumping in without fear to help.

When a great white shark attacked surfer Todd Endris in the Pacific Ocean and suddenly mauled his back and right leg, an entire pod of bottlenose dolphins formed a protective ring around Endris so he could make it to the shore for first aid that ended up saving his life.

The Lineham family of Birmingham, England may have perished in a house fire if it hadn’t been for the efforts of their cat -- appropriately named Sooty -- to alert them to danger. Sooty scratched at the family’s bedroom doors until they woke up. Then they were all able to escape the fire before smoke could overcome them.

When a 3-year-old boy accidentally fell into the gorilla enclosure at Chicago’s Brookfield Zoo and became unconscious, a female gorilla named Binti Jua picked him up and held him gently close to her to protect him from being injured by other gorillas until zookeepers could rescue him.

Helping People Heal From Emotional Trauma

Animals may also help people who have gone through emotional trauma make miraculous recoveries, by giving those people unconditional love and encouraging them to regain hope and confidence.

A pit bull dog named Cheyenne saved former U.S. Air Force security guard David Sharpe’s life, he tells people. Sharpe, who suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and depression after tours of duty in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, had placed a gun inside his mouth and was ready to commit suicide by pulling the trigger when he felt Cheyenne lick his ear. He opened his eyes and stared into his pet’s loving face for a while, and then decided to live because her unconditional love gave him hope. Since then, Sharpe founded an organization called P2V (Pets to Vets), which matches military service members and first-responder rescue workers with shelter animals that can give them the help they need to heal from emotional wounds.

Donna Spadoni struggled with anxiety and depression after she lost her job during a short-term disability leave for back surgeries. But when she adopted Josie, a standard poodle who was trained as a companion animal by the Delta Society, Donna regained a positive outlook on life. Josie’s humorous antics made Donna laugh, and her friendship gave her fresh hope to deal with the stress in her life.

A ranch called The Gentle Barn matches children who have been abused with animals like cows, pigs, goats, dogs, cats, llamas, and horses who have also suffered abuse, so they can build healing bonds with each other. Jackie Wagner's friendship with Zoe, a formerly abused horse, has helped Jackie heal the emotional wounds that her abusive late father had inflicted on her.

Helping People Deal With Physical Illness or Injury

Animals also can miraculously improve the quality of life for people who are disabled or recovering from a physical illness or injury. Many organizations train animals to perform a wide variety of helpful tasks for people with special physical needs.

After Ned Sullivan was paralyzed in a car accident, his family got a Capuchin monkey named Kasey from an organization called Helping Hands, Inc. Kasey does everything from flipping the pages of books and magazines Ned reads to getting Ned a drink with a straw and positioning it near his mouth when he’s thirsty.

Frances Maldonado was concerned about having to depend on her family members too much to get around after a disease caused her to lose most of her vision. But when she got a trained Labrador retriever named Orrin from Guide Dogs for the Blind, she rejoiced that she was able to travel without constantly having to rely on rides from others. Orrin helps Frances safely navigate as she walks, and even makes it possible for her to manage bus trips.

Riding horses at Rainbow Center 4-H Therapeutic Riding Center helps brothers David and Joshua Cibula strengthen their muscles that have become weakened by cerebral palsy, which makes it possible for the boys to control their muscles better during all of their everyday tasks. The horses that the Cibulas and other disabled children ride have been trained to respond gently when the children are struggling and work patiently to help the children learn new physical skills.

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Your Citation
Hopler, Whitney. "Famous Stories of Animals Helping People in Miraculous Ways." Learn Religions, Sep. 30, 2021, learnreligions.com/animals-helping-people-in-miraculous-ways-124444. Hopler, Whitney. (2021, September 30). Famous Stories of Animals Helping People in Miraculous Ways. Retrieved from https://www.learnreligions.com/animals-helping-people-in-miraculous-ways-124444 Hopler, Whitney. "Famous Stories of Animals Helping People in Miraculous Ways." Learn Religions. https://www.learnreligions.com/animals-helping-people-in-miraculous-ways-124444 (accessed June 5, 2023).