Tara, a tabby from Bakersfield, Calif., has won an honor that so routinely goes to that other kind of pet, it's known as the Hero Dog award. This time, the Society for The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Los Angeles had to scratch out "dog," and etch "cat" on the trophy instead.
Who can forget Tara swinging into action in a viral video from home security cameras last year?
The dog from next door had crept up on Tara's owner 4-year-old Jeremy Triantafilo as he played on his bike in the driveway. The intruder clamped his teeth into Jeremy's leg and began to drag him. Tara dashed to the rescue, body-slammed the dog, and chased him off the scene.
Jeremy needed eight stitches in his leg, and says of Tara, "She is my hero."
"You will usually find Tara close to Jeremy, his father said.
" 'The neighbor kids come over and play with her. Dogs walk by all the time. She gets along fine with our dog, Maya. But if Jeremy falls off his bike, she comes running. If he starts crying, she comes running,' Triantafilo said. He believes Tara would help Jeremy's twin brothers, Carson and Conner, if they needed it. She's grown up with all of them. But there is no question she is partial to Jeremy, he said. Jeremy and Tara spend a lot of time walking around and talking with one another."
In addition to the award, Tara wins a year's supply of cat food and probably many more Internet views.
Tara, a 7-year-old cat, is still keeping a watchful eye over Jeremy Triantafilo.