The cat who heroically threw herself at a dog that was attacking her owner and then succeeded in chasing it off, is being honored this New Year’s day by getting to ride in the annual Rose Parade in Pasadena, California.
The parade, which has been a New Year’s tradition for over a century, takes place around Jan. 1 each year and accompanies the college football tournament the Rose Bowl.
Tara the cat and her owners will be on the Lucy Pet Foundation Paws For Life float for the parade, which lasts about two hours and is expected to draw 73 million of viewers.
— NBC (@nbc) December 28, 2017
After watching the remarkable video of Tara’s rescue, it’s not hard to see why she would be asked to participate in the parade.
In May of 2014, Tara’s owner, 4-year-old Jeremy Triantafilo, was riding his bike outside his home in Bakersfield, California, when a neighbor’s dog snuck up on him.
The dog, a Labrador-Chow mix, bit Jeremy in the leg and then dragged him off his bike and down the driveway.
While the bite was traumatic, it could have been a lot worse for little Jeremy if the family’s cat of six years had not stepped in.
In video shot from three home surveillance cameras, Tara can be seen hurling herself directly at the dog, which is easily twice her size, just seconds after it latches onto Jeremy.
The dog, which looks surprised, lets go of Jeremy and runs off with Tara in pursuit.
Jeremy had to have 10 stitches in his leg, but his family is thankful it wasn’t worse.
While nothing like this has ever happened to them before, the fact that Tara protected her owner wasn’t a surprise to her family.
“She’s always been very protective and passionate about being with Jeremy and the other boys, so it was definitely in her character,” Jeremy’s father, Roger told KABC.
The 8-month-old dog was euthanized shortly after the attack.
The family posted a video of the incident titled “My Cat Saved My Son” to YouTube, where it has been viewed almost 26 million times.
The Lucy Pet Foundation was founded to reduce pet overpopulation and support other animal welfare causes. Its float will have three other “hero” animals that “truly made a difference in peoples’ lives,” said Joey Herrick, president and founder of The Lucy Pet Foundation, in a statement.
The other “hero” animals that Tara will be riding with are all dogs: a Marine K-9 who went on a second tour to Afghanistan after he was injured and his handler was killed on their first tour; a Belgian Malinois K-9 that has helped apprehend criminals as part of the Oxnard Police Department; and a Border Collie mix that travels the country helping find people trapped during natural disasters.
Riding Lucy Pet Foundation' @RoseParade float, Tammie Ashley adopted, Sirius, retired military K-9, will be on Rose Parade float, that honor animals saved and protected human lives. Sirius was in Afghanistan with his handler Joshua Ashley when the Marine was killed. @LUCYPETFDN pic.twitter.com/MZEfnfpBi6
— Walt Mancini (@WaltMancini) December 28, 2017
The parade will take place Jan. 1 and will start at 8 a.m.