Long before Jill Rappaport became know for her animal advocacy, the NBC correspondent was already saving the lives of pets in need.
"I always had rescue dogs growing up," she tells PEOPLE. "I was the kid that would come home with a stray, even if it was a little mouse."
Now an award-winning animal advocate and author, Rappaport is teaming up with celebs including Betty White, Lindsey Vonn and Emmylou Harris for her new special Best in Shelter, which aims to raise awareness for homeless animals and to help them find their forever homes.
A six-year-old Australian shepherd named Sausage is being credited for saving the life of three puppies that were discovered inside a garbage bag in Pleasant Hill, California.
"It is one of the feel good stories of the year," Rick Golphin, deputy director of Contra Costa County Animal Services, tells PEOPLE.
Who says cats are self-absorbed?
A long-haired cat from Obninsk, Russia, came to the aid of an abandoned baby recently and is being called a hero. The furry feline kept the baby boy warm and even meowed to get the attention of passersby, the New York Post reports.
Leah Reeder was out for a walk with her dog, Ralph, on Sunday when she was suddenly attacked by a black bear in Eastpoint, Florida.
Man's best friend indeed.
When a fire started brewing in the Indianapolis home of Johnny Walker around midnight on Tuesday, his shih tzu/poodle mix Bogey barked furiously to wake him up – ultimately saving the lives of Walker and several others.
According to New York's Daily News, the pup was the first to notice the fire, which was sparked by two unattended space heaters.
America's newest heroes are not talking about their latest daring mission.
At Ground Zero in 2001, Bretagne was a specially trained 2-year-old golden retriever who had a sixth sense about who needed her most.
Man's best friend, indeed.
On Thursday, Steven Krichbaum, 59, was walking with his yellow Lab mix Henry in West Virginia's George Washington National Forest when they were confronted with something bear-y scary: two cubs and a larger black bear, who wasn't happy to see them. The animal proceeded to attack, and the guys leaped into action.
As with the mythological Greek heroes of yore, the legendary feats of our nation's feline champions will echo down through generations. Today's epic purr-etry tells the tale of Tara, a California tabby that saved its young owner from a vicious dog mauling.
But in the annals of history lies another hero cat, Mugsy the Gatorbane. Though the bards do not sing of Mugsy as they once did, back in the ancient Internet age of 2010 his story was shouted from the hilltops of Jezebel to the valley of the Telegraph.
chickennugget in Dogs