Animals are capable of so much more compassion, love, bravery, and ingenuity than most people realize.
The two guide dogs who led their owners down 70 floors in the World Trade Center before the towers collapsed on September 11.
Guide dogs Salty and Roselle were awarded a joint Dickin Medal "For remaining loyally at the side of their blind owners, courageously leading them down more than 70 floors of the World Trade Center and to a place of safety following the terrorist attack on New York on 11 September 2001."
In 2007, five children were playing with George when they were attacked by pit bulls. "George tried to protect us by barking and rushing at them," said one of the children about the attack, "but they started to bite him - one on the head and the other on the back." His heroic intervention saved the children, though he later died from his injuries. George was posthumously awarded a medal for bravery.
The beluga whale who saved a free diver who had cramped up 20 feet below the surface.
When free-diver Yang Yun tried to return from the bottom of an arctic pool, she found that her legs had cramped up and she couldn't move.
"I began to choke and sank even lower and I thought that was it for me - I was dead. Until I felt this incredible force under me driving me to the surface."
A Beluga whale named Mila had seen what was happening and sprang into action, guiding Yun safely back to the top of the pool.
The Staffordshire bull terrier who protected her owner from a machete gang.
Patricia Adshead was making tea when three men wearing masks and wielding machetes broke into her home. Adshead's ex-husband rushed to help, but one of the assailants sliced through his hand with a machete.
"I was trapped in the kitchen with Oi and one of the men. He raised the machete over my head," she said.
"Oi jumped up and bit his hand. He brought the machete down on her head but she still chased him out of the house. If she hadn't gone for him I would have been dead. She saved my life."
The gorilla who remembered his old friend.
The German Shepherd who has become a seeing eye dog for a blind spaniel
When Ellie, a blind spaniel, was adopted by shelter manager Jean Spencer, she never expected that her other dog, Leo, would choose to become her very own seeing-eye dog. "I take them for walks in the park and Leo guides Ellie around," says Spencer. "He is so protective and herds the more boisterous dogs away from her."
The abused circus elephants who were reunited at an elephant sanctuary after 25 years apart.