Tara the cat received the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals annual Hero Dog Award in Los Angeles, California, because there was no such award for a cat. Meet her below and be amazed.

Tara the brave tabby from Bakersfield, California, saved her four-year-old charge, an autistic little boy named Jeremy Triantafilo from a vicious dog attack. It all happened as the child rode his bicycle in the family drive -way. A frenzied Labrador-Chow mix named Scrappy lived in the house next door. The dog attacked the little boy, grabbed his leg and viciously shook him from side to side. Scrappy was taken completely by surprise when Tara, who was much smaller, body-slammed the dog and threw him off the little boy. (See my article on the homeless cat that saved an abandoned baby.)

The heroic episode was captured and uploaded onto YouTube

With more than 24 million views and counting, the YouTube video shot in May of 2014, captured Tara's daring attack and rescue, catapulting (forgive pun) the loving tabby to Internet fame. In the words of Jeremy's father, Roger Triantafilo: "It's pretty amazing to see just a cat take on a dog and selflessly put herself out there. That dog did not even know what hit him. The neighbor's kids come over and play with her. Dogs walk by all the time. She gets along fine with our dog, Maya. Tara has grown up with and is protective of all three of our children, but there is no question she is partial to Jeremy." (See my article on the cat guide who saved a hiker in the Alps.)

Tara and Jeremy


Tara adopted the family some eight years ago

Tara reportedly adopted the family after spotting the couple  at  a park and following them home. At the time, the boy's mother, Erica, and father, Roger, were on a date. They had no way of knowing  then that they would end up as husband and wife, but perhaps Tara knew and performed some feline magic in that department as well. (See Orlando the Guide Dog.) Jeremy calls Tara, "his hero." and needed eight stitches to sew up his leg. Unfortunately, the dog was euthanized soon after the incident.

Tara has received many honors since her daring rescue

SPCALA president, Madeleine Bernstein, presented the 33rd annual Hero Dog award to Tara and her loving family in downtown Los Angeles. In her own words: "We were so impressed by Tara's bravery and fast action that the selection committee decided that a cat  this spectacular should be the National Hero Dog..."

In addition, Kern County on June 3rd of last year granted the brave cat her very own holiday known as Tara The Hero Cat Day. Perhaps most interesting of all were the honors of trying to throw out a first pitch without benefit of hands at a minor league Bakersfield Blaze game and dropping the puck at a Bakersfield Condors hockey game. For both tasks,  she had a little help from her owners.

It is  probably fortunate that for all the things Tara can do, one of them is not reading. If she could, she might have been insulted and demanded another trophy; one in which the word, 'dog' wasn't scratched out and the word, 'cat,' etched in.  But Tara is a cat after all, and no trophy is needed  to measure the love, loyalty and devotion she obviously feels for her family and they feel  for her..

 Here's to you, Tara, and your brave act of heroism.

See also Bretagne