You may have already heard of
, an abused French mastiff announced as this year's Hero Dog of the Year by the American Humane organisation. Hooch came out on top for his heartbreaking but ultimately heart-warming story of overcoming adversity as a rescue dog to become the community figure he is today (Hooch works with autistic, abused and special needs children).
Here are five more Inspirational animals to give you the warm fuzzies:
Haatchi the gentle giant
Haatchi, the Anatolian shepherd, was awarded the Animal Hero Award for Caring Animal of the Year, 2016 after forging a bond with 10-year-old Owen Howkins, one of only 25 people in the world to suffer from a rare syndrome that makes his muscles permanently tense and prevents his bones from growing. No stranger to adversity, Haatchi (who had previously suffered abuse and was even hit by a train, resulting in the amputation of his rear left leg and tail) and Owen immediately bonded. "Everything changed in my life that day," says Owen of his first meeting with Haatchi.
Baxter the life-saver
This Labrador puppy saved the life of a six-year-old girl who was choking to death after a seizure. Baxter, a Labrador puppy in Glasgow, noticed little Olivia Goodman in serious trouble and alerted Olivia's mother. The clever pup was awarded the Hero Animal of the Year Award at this year's Animal Hero Awards in the UK.
Dylan the firefighting cockatiel
In 2014, a pet cockatiel by the name of Dylan saved his owner from a fire at his home in Avilla, Indiana, USA. Andrew Hardiek was fast asleep when the fire broke out, when Dylan began squawking for his attention. Andrew was able to escape unharmed (with Dylan in tow, of course). "Without Dylan waking me up, I probably wouldn't be here right now," he told a local news station after the event.
Mila the Beluga whale
During a free-diving contest in north-east China, 26-year-old diver Yang Yun, 20 feet under water, suddenly felt her legs cramp up from the freezing cold water. Enter Mila the beluga whale, who swooped in and pushed Yang Yun to the top of the tank, saving her life.
Ning Nong the elephant
We all remember the horrors of the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami. British tourist Amber Owen remembers vividly - she was in Phuket, Thailand at the time and was riding an elephant called Ning Nong when the wave struck. Ning Nong protected her from the impact and ran for higher ground. "I will always be very grateful," said Owen, now 20 years old, earlier this year. Her story inspired a new play by Michael Morpugo, the award-winning author of War Horse.