4,000 Beagles, Dozens of Trapped Animals, and a Cat Named Ian: The 12 Best Pet Rescue Stories of 2022
Every day, thousands of people step up to care for our furred and feathered companions, whether as part of their job, in a volunteer capacity, or simply being in the right place at the most crucial time. These kind-hearted souls do all they can to ensure their welfare, from rescuing more than 300 dogs from an alleged dog fighting operation to providing sanctuary for senior and medically compromised cats.
We love to spread the word about their ongoing advocacy and quick heroic actions during a crisis. Although this article doesn't come close to fully thanking them for their unwavering dedication, we still want express gratitude by highlighting some of our favorite rescue stories, in no particular order, of 2022.
1. Thousands of Beagles in Need of a Better Life
The outstanding release of more than 4,000 beagles from a pharmaceutical and biotech corporate breeding facility mobilized shelters and rescues across the U.S. and made headlines around the world. Due to many federal animal welfare violations found at the facility, these precious pups were part of "one of the largest dog rescue efforts ever coordinated" and hundreds at a time went to various organizations partnering with the Humane Society to receive vital medical attention, socialization, and adoption.
2. Seattle Cat Trapped in Storm Drain Rescued From Frigid Water
Rafa, a Siberian mix, snuck outside and slipped 45 feet down a drainage pipe. Stuck neck-deep in freezing water, mewling for help, his owners couldn't rescue him alone, so an entire village united to assist, including the fire department, Seattle Public Utilities staff, Roto-Rooter employees, and neighbors. After a week in the ICU, Rafa returned home and recommitted to being a safe indoor cat.
MORE: Cat Who Was Trapped 45 Feet Deep in Freezing Drainage Pipe Wins Award for Most Bizarre Insurance Claim
3. After 3 Years in a Shelter, Sweet Cami the Pit Bull Mix Finds Forever Home
Shelter personnel who care for dogs long-term are simply the best. So no one was more thrilled and teary-eyed than the folks at Saint Francis Animal Center in Georgetown, S.C., when loving pit bull mix pup Cami—normally shy and reserved around new people—rolled onto her back for a belly rub from Addie Nelson, who naturally couldn't resist adopting her on the spot and providing a home of unconditional love.
4. This Guy!
As the wrath of Hurricane Ian ravaged Florida's Gulf Coast, Mike Ross braved the whipping winds and rain to rescue this needy kitty from the deluge. Ross and his girlfriend, who shot a video of his feat, kept the cat as their own—and named him Ian.
5. Puppy Mill Survivor Lolly Nurtures Other Traumatized Dogs
Conditions at puppy mills are abhorrent, and animals suffer so much. Yet somehow Lolly, a poodle mix and one of 500 dogs rescued from a puppy mill in Iowa, responded valiantly to professionals who fought to save her. Through dedicated care, she healed from multiple health ailments and behavior issues. Now, she's a helper dog at the ASPCA's Behavioral Rehabilitation Center.
MORE: After Being Rescued From a Filthy Puppy Mill, Lolly the Poodle Mix Is Helping Dogs Recover From Fear, Trauma
6. Passersby Call Troopers to Rescue Kitten Abandoned on Bridge
Stranded on the Huey Long Bridge 153 feet above the Mississippi River was a wee kitten that the Louisiana State Police couldn't bear to leave behind. After veterinary treatment for some injuries, Ms. Bridget, as she's now known, is the new furbaby of Trooper Eric Alsup, Jr.
7. Firefighters Save Puppies From Charred Building
After the Colleton County Fire Rescue team of Jacksonboro, S.C., quenched the fire of a large structure, members heard whining beneath the rubble. They discovered not one, not two, but eight puppies covered in soot. After some TLC from the county's animal services, all the pups were adopted.
8. A Happy Ending to a Labradoodle's Icy Plunge
Normally, a quick, cool splash can be quite refreshing, but darling Lucy the Labradoodle got more than she bargained for in the sub-zero temperatures of a Michigan lake. Wyandotte police and firefighters coordinated the rescue, which included one intrepid soul entering the wintry water himself to get her off the ice, back onto dry land, and home to her family within an hour.
9. Fat Cat (No Really, That's His Name) Makes It Back to Earth
More than 9 million TikTok viewers couldn't get enough of watching Duane Hook coax poor Fat Cat off the limb he had been stranded on for four days. Hook volunteers to help stuck kitties throughout Ohio get out of tough spots.
10. More Firefighters Saving Dogs—53 This Time!
First responders from Lake County Fire & Rescue couldn't believe what they found when a plane crash-landed on a golf course in Pewaukee, Wis.—three people and 53 shelter dogs in need of immediate assistance. Fortunately, firefighters and EMTs succeeded in securing every creature's safety and even adopted some of the pups!
11. Animal Control Officer Frees Shelter Cats Trapped in Steel Cages During Fire
While doing nightly rounds, Animal Control Officer Jesus Aranda of Laredo, Texas, discovered one of the city's shelters ablaze. Without waiting for the fire department, he dashed into the smoke and flames to find 45 terrified cats in their cages—and carried each one outside to safety.
12. Harrowing Rescue of Deaf Australian Shepherd
As his family was installing a fence on their property, Hobo the Australian shepherd lost his footing and slid into a 100-foot ravine. Members of the San Diego Humane Society's Emergency Rescue Team actually had to rappel down the steep incline to bring him back home. Whew.