After awarding the Hero Dog title to canines for 32 years, the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Los Angeles found a different kind of four-legged companion to recognize this year. In June, spcaLA announced their 2015 Hero Dog recipient, seven-year-old tabby cat Tara from Bakersfield, California.
Last year, Tara became a viral celebrity after video of her saving her human sibling from a vicious dog attack. “On May 13, 2014, five year old Jeremy Triantafilo was playing in the front yard with his mother, Erica and Tara nearby,” recounts the press release from spcaLA. “The next door neighbor’s dog escaped from their yard as they were pulling out of their driveway. The dog charged Jeremy, sunk his teeth into his leg, and pulled him off his bike while violently shaking him. Before Erica even had a chance to react, Tara sprang into action, knocking the dog off Jeremy, and chasing him out of the Triantafilo’s yard.”
“We found it incredibly rewarding to know that her actions on that day inspired more people than if a dog would have done the same thing,” Tara’s dad, Roger Triantafilo, recently shared with atombash.com during an exclusive interview.
Tara has been a part of the Triantafilo family since she followed Roger and Erica home from a local park over six years ago. Since joining the Triantafilo family, Tara has helped Roger and Erica welcome three human siblings and a canine one into the pack. Tara is kept quite busy playing with her two-legged brothers and Roger commented, “But honestly, I would say she gets along with our dog Maya amazingly well and that may have been a big part of the reason that she was not afraid to go after the bad dog in the first place.”
The bond between Tara and Jeremy began as soon as he came home from the hospital as a newborn. “Jeremy was born two years after Tara was with us,” Triantafilo commented. “They bonded almost immediately and we found them together a lot over the years. She always had to be close to him and went as far as sleeping in his crib when he was an infant.”
With media attention from NBC, Fox News, NPR, and numerous other outlets, one would think this heroic tabby would be an utter ingenue. “She seems really indifferent to the increased attention,’ says Triantafilo. “She always does so well in social situations, so there was not much of a change. She is a little more of a diva when it comes to her food and play time though!”
Other than receiving the spcaLA’s Hero Dog Award, Tara is a fairly normal cat. “She loves to be outdoors and around the kids as they play,” her human dad shared. “She is very much a family animal in the sense that she always is around us if she’s not out prowling the neighborhood. She also enjoys pounce sessions and will often hide around objects just to jump out at you as you walk by!”
British author Charles Dickens once wrote, “What greater gift than the love of a cat?” Truly no other family can defend this statement more than the Triantafilo family. Tara demonstrates how wonderful it can be to add a cat to your family.