Daisy to the Rescue: True Stories of Daring Dogs, Paramedic Parrots, and Other Animal Heroes

by Jeff Campbell, Ramsey Beyer

Who rescued who? This popular animal-shelter bumper sticker captures an enduring emotional truth: With their love and companionship, animals save our lives every day. But sometimes, to our utter amazement and everlasting gratitude, animals literally save our lives, and this heartwarming book collects over fifty real-life stories of animals rescuing people, in which their bravery and compassion have meant the difference between life and death.

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN-13/ EAN: 9781936976621
  • ISBN-10: 1936976625
  • Pages: 336
  • Publication Date: 10/07/2014
  • Carton Quantity: 24

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About the Book
About the Authors
  • About the Book

    With their love and companionship, animals help to make our lives better every day. But sometimes, to our utter amazement and everlasting gratitude, animals literally save our lives. Daisy to the Rescue celebrates over fifty of these heroic animals with stunning illustrated portraits and detailed accounts of their exploits. The book asks important questions about why these animals act the way they do—often putting themselves in harm’s way in the process.

    Today, scientists vigorously debate whether other animals share our capacity for empathy, compassion, morality, and altruism, and amazing new research is continually revising our understanding of the human-animal bond. Daisy to the Rescue presents these findings and applies them to these extreme life-saving situations. Taken together, these rescue stories make a compelling case for the presence of compassion in other animals and for the vital importance of the human-animal bond.

    The dramatic, moving stories in Daisy to the Rescue provide a hopeful message about our world. Not only do they contain startling evidence of the mental and emotional capacities of animals, but they also demonstrate the healing, transformative power of our intimate connection with those incredible beings with whom we share the world.

  • About the Author
  • Excerpts

    LuLu the Pot-Bellied Pig Stops Traffic

    Name: LuLu
    Species: Vietnamese pot-bellied pig
    Date: August 4, 1998
    Location: Presque Isle, Pennsylvania
    Situation: Woman suffering a heart attack
    Who Was Saved: Jo Ann Altsman, 57-year-old wife and mother
    Fame Meter: Hall-of-Famer

    Quick: Which is smarter, a dog or a pig?
     If you’re Jo Ann Altsman, or George Clooney for that matter, the answer is as simple as it is hard to miss. Pot-bellied pigs are the smartest, and you don’t need a bunch of scientific studies to prove it. Just listen to this:
     In August 1998, Jo Ann and Jack Altsman were summer vacationing on Presque Isle, Pennsylvania, a beautiful sandy peninsula that juts into Lake Erie. The couple had brought along their American Eskimo dog, Bear, and their pet Vietnamese pot-bellied pig, LuLu. A type of miniature pig, LuLu then weighed about 150 pounds, about the average adult weight.
     The Altsmans had originally purchased LuLu in 1997 as a fortieth birthday present for their daughter, Jackie. Imagine her surprise? Strangely enough, Jackie never got around to taking LuLu home, and as the four-pound piglet grew, so did the Altsmans’ love for her. They kept LuLu, and Jo Ann is eternally grateful they did.
     On the morning of August 4, while her husband was fishing on Lake Erie, Jo Ann suffered a heart attack in their vacation home. It was her second heart attack in eighteen months, and she fell to the floor, gasping, and couldn’t get up. Jo Ann threw an alarm clock through the window, breaking it, and yelled for help, but no one heard her.
     Meanwhile, her dog, Bear, was barking his fool head off, and LuLu “made sounds like she was crying,” Jo Ann said. “You know, they cry big, fat tears.”
     Then LuLu decided to do something. She crashed through the trailer’s doggie door--breaking it open wider but cutting her stomach in the process--knocked open the enclosed yard’s gate, and ran to an adjacent road.
     “I didn’t know that she knew that I was in dire trouble,” Jo Ann said. “I just kept telling her to go night-night.”
     Once at the street, as witnesses described later, LuLu decided to play “dead piggy.” This was one of LuLu’s favorite games, one in which “she knows she’ll get attention,” Jo Ann said. LuLu lay down in the middle of the road, forcing cars to drive around her.
     But no one would stop.
     So, for the next forty-five minutes, LuLu kept returning to the trailer to check on Jo Ann, and then returning to the road to play “dead piggy” until she got someone’s attention.
     What about Bear? The stupid dog just kept barking. 
     Finally, an anonymous man pulled over and got out of his car. Seeing the bloody injury on the animal’s flank, and concerned for her safety (and perhaps her sanity), he followed LuLu as the “little piggy” ran wee-wee-wee all the way home.
     “I heard a man hollering through the door, ‘Lady, your pig’s in distress,” Jo Ann recounted. “I said, ‘I’m in distress, too. Please call an ambulance.’”
     The man did, and Jo Ann was flown to a nearby medical center, where she had emergency open-heart surgery. Doctors told her that if another fifteen minutes had gone by, she probably would have died.
     How do you thank a pig who saves your life?
     “She got a jelly doughnut,” Jo Ann said.
     Of course. 
    LuLu Is Loved to Death
    Tragically, LuLu’s story doesn’t end there.
     As author E. B. White understood, when you have a terrific, radiant, humble pig, the whole world wants to meet them. Afterward, back at their Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, home, the Altsmans and LuLu were overwhelmed with media attention. The New York Times ran a front-page story. LuLu was featured in USA Today and People magazine. TV programs from Germany, Australia, Italy, and Japan came calling. National Geographic did a TV segment, and LuLu appeared on the Regis & Kathie Lee Show, The Late Show with David Letterman, and Oprah.
     Each year, the story never got old. Ripley’s Believe It or Not showed up, as did Animal Planet, the Discovery Channel, Good Morning America, and 20/20.
     The highlight, though, was most certainly meeting George Clooney and his own beloved pot-bellied pig, Max, when LuLu received the 1999 “Trooper Award” from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. It’s not clear whether LuLu and Max hit it off, but Clooney was smitten.
     After all, Clooney’s infatuation with his pig Max was by then famous. He had been known to lose girlfriends over his pet, whom he called “a big part of my life.” Clooney once said, “You get a lot of grief from people when you sleep with a pig. I’ve had different reaction over the years. But I always say, ‘Love me, love my pig.’ What can I do?”
     People certainly marveled at LuLu, and particularly at what her actions indicated about her intelligence and depth of feeling. Pigs have always been considered smart, but could a pig really understand what was at stake, respond creatively, and persist at it for nearly an hour? As Marc Bekoff said, “What LuLu did was amazing, but it would not be beyond the cognitive or intellectual power of a pig. She was on a mission.”
     But also, with each passing year, LuLu kept getting bigger and bigger and bigger. Four years later, by 2002, she had grown dangerously obese, ballooning to 335 pounds.
     “We put her on diets constantly,” Jo Ann said. But as LuLu had demonstrated, she was no dummy, and she liked to eat. “She’d sit at the gate and cry for people to feed her. Everyone thought they were the only ones.” Strangers fed her hamburgers, Pop-Tarts, ice cream, pizza, soda, candy--anything to thank this remarkable animal for what she’d done. 
     On January 30, 2003, LuLu died at home after suffering a heart attack, one that was most likely brought on by her weight. She died prematurely, at age five and half. Pot-bellied pigs have a life expectancy of twelve to twenty years.
     “She was the smartest, most special pig,” Jo Ann said. She and her husband contemplated getting a new pig, but “whatever we do,” she said, “we’ll never have another LuLu.”

  • Reviews
    "Whether they are domestic companions, trained to serve, inspired to heal, or are found in the wild, animals have the ability to enhance our lives and even save us, and this compendium pays homage. ...Individual stories of animal derring-do, illustrated with pencil portraits, make for quick, compelling reads that prompt the reader to wonder what really goes on in an animal’s head and heart. Give this to anyone from middle school to adult who shares that curiosity." - Booklist 


    "All the stories are wonderful ... when starting these fifty tender stories, prepare to get teary eyed. Anyone who has ever bonded with an animal will love this book." - Voice of Youth Advocates 


    "With an eye toward documenting remarkable animal/human interactions, Campbell has assembled a large collection of fascinating anecdotes. ...Overflowing with information, fascinating tales and thought-provoking information; give it to animal-loving middle graders on up." -Kirkus Reviews 


    "Well-documented cases of animals rescuing men, women, and children are recounted with precision, organized into four divisions: domestic, trained, wild, and legendary animals. Campbell draws on opinions from professionals and anecdotal evidence, gleaned from ancient to modern times, to understand animal motivations. ...The text flows well, and the compact content is intense... . The documentation shines in this presentation." - School Library Journal 


    "Animal lovers and anyone with a pet of his/her own will love reading these stories and the possible scientific explanations of how and why these animals saved the humans they did. From kangaroo to lion, from dolphin to dog, and from horse to hamster (there really isn't a hamster, but there is a rabbit), the stories will touch readers' hearts and stir their imagination." - The Examiner