by Alana from Leonardville

The 2015 Hero Dog Award Goes to a Cat. Tara, the courageous 7-year old tabby from Bakersfield, California, saved one of her owners, Jeremy Triantafilo, on May 13, 2014. Four-year old Jeremy was playing on his bike in their driveway while his mother Erica watched from a distance. The neighbor's new eight month old dog escaped from their watch and slinked out from around the Triantafilo's SUV, then clamped onto Jeremy's leg, dragged him off and started shaking him. Before Erica could even blink, Tara cam charging to the rescue.

Tara's concern for Jeremy overcame her friendliness and she body slammed the dog, quickly looked back to make sure Jeremy was okay, then chased off the dog. The neighbors were present and restrained the dog from causing any further damage; they called 911 and willingly handed him over to the authorities. Tara's heroics were caught by the home security cameras and put on YouTube. The videos have been seen over 24 million times. Jeremy needed eight stitches in his leg and was a little shaken up, referring to the dog as "bad dog," but was otherwise okay.

Tara is the first cat to have ever received the Hero Dog Award; all the other awards have gone to other heroes - all dogs like Ronnie, a wire fox terrier that defended his human and canine companion from a coyote intruder. Or Diamond, a pit bull terrier that alerted her family when their house caught on fire and even shielded one of her owners from the flames, injuring herself in the process. Instead of creating a whole a whole new trophy, they decided to have the word "dog" be crossed off of the trophy and the word "cat" etched in as a joke.

Along with the trophy she also received a year's worth of cat food from Purina and won the Blue Tiger Award which is usually only given to military dogs. Tara even got her very own day in Kern County California's every June 3rd is "Tara the Hero Cat Day" and the Bakersfield Blaze baseball team honored Tara as well. On May 20th they invited Tara to be the first cat in history to throw the first pitch at a sanctioned baseball game, where of course nothing went right.

Even the Bakersfield Condors hockey team let Tara drop the ceremonial puck on May 23 and not to mention that she got to go on the "Today Show". But despite all the awards, gifts and interviews Tara still enjoys her day to day life, which usually involves the usual cat things like lying around, chasing bugs, most likely creating chaos and of course watching over her family; just like any good guard cat does. Despite the attack Jeremy's parents, Tara, and even Jeremy himself hold no ill will towards the dog and didn't press charges against their neighbors.

The reason for the dog's attack is unknown. Some people think that the wheels on the bike caused the dog to go into a frenzy, which could be a sign of past mistreatment by previous owners or poor socialization by current owners. Or he could've been simply "defective" something was just off in his brain chemistry that couldn't be corrected. Since eight months is old enough to establish negative behavior for a dog, especially if the dog was adopted from a shelter or rescue.

The authorities held the dog for a ten-day assessment to look for further signs of aggression. Which unfortunately the dog did show though and so he had to be euthanized. Whatever the dog's reasons for attacking Jeremy he was put down to prevent any further harm to anyone who could come in contact with the dog. Hopefully there are other cats like Tara that will step in when their family needs help and save the day.

Page created on 10/6/2015 12:00:00 AM

Last edited 10/6/2015 12:00:00 AM

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Related Links

Tara the Cat - Her own website