Tara, the seven-year-old tabby cat from Bakersfield, Calif., got national recognition after a YouTube video showing the cat saving four-year-old Jeremy Triantafilo from a violent dog.
In this video — which now has more than 24 million views — the young boy was riding his bicycle when a dog approached, started biting the boy’s leg and dragged him through the front yard. Without reluctance, Tara the cat leaped at the dog and chased it off the property.
Triantafilo did have to get stitches for the dog bite, but he managed to escape due to the fearlessness of his little cat.
The society first revealed the “Annual National Hero Dog Award” 33 years ago. This is the first time ever that a non-dog is receiving the prestigious recognition. And instead of award money, the cat’s award comes with a yearlong supply of free cat food.
The little boy’s leg injury has now healed and the Triantafilo family are still the proud owners of Tara the hero cat.
“It was pretty amazing to see just a cat take on a dog,” Jeremy’s father said in an interview with the “Today” show. “I don’t think that dog knew what hit him.”