Animal Heroes of 2021

Dec 30, 2021

Animal Heroes of 2021

Photo: Carly Åhlén

Honoring the Animal Heroes of 2021

During these turbulent times, it’s important to take a moment to reflect on the positive things.

In 2018, I started a yearly tradition of featuring humans who go out of their way to help save and protect animals.

If you’re interested in reading who was previously featured, read about the Animal Heroes of 2020.

Who are the Animal Heroes of 2021?

  • Wildlife Warriors : Humans who help wildlife
  • Pet Protectors : Humans who help dogs, cats, horses, etc. in need
  • Creative Champions : Artists, writers, musicians, photographers, etc. who raise awareness and money to help animals
  • Exploitation Eliminators : Humans who help exploited animals used for food, clothing, medicine, testing, entertainment, tourism, etc.
  • Loving Leaders : Humans in governing and influential positions who are working towards a systems change for animals
  • Energy Elevators : Energy healers and animal communicators who have healed and helped animals (and their owners) in extraordinary ways

Power to the people who care!

To my mind, the life of a lamb is no less precious than that of a human being.

Mahatma Gandhi

Wildlife Warriors

For me, any human who rescues, saves or protects wild animals is a warrior! It takes knowledge, intuition, bravery and love to be able to rescue those souls who would otherwise die a horrible death. Who are the Wildlife Warriors of 2021? Read their stories below!

Carly Åhlén

I met Carly on LinkedIn and found out that she has always cared for wildlife in need. Whether it’s rescuing, nurturing and releasing foxes, hedgehogs or birds, you will most likely find her out and about lending a helping hand.

On Christmas Eve, she even rescued a swan and took him to get the medical care he needed.

Carly’s profoundly deaf but nothing stops her from being a voice for the voiceless. On top of rescuing and rehabilitating wildlife day in and day out, she runs Gabo Wildlife to inspire others to act by showing her voluntary work which is self funded.

Even though Carly has many stories to share, she chose to tell us about Buttercup, the Red Fox. Red foxes are in grave danger in the UK. Only 70% of red foxes in UK make it past their 1st birthday! Big efforts are underway to stop trial hunting for so-called sport, but I’m happy Carly’s not waiting for the law to change!

Buttercup’s Story
“Buttercup was found on the cold streets of London. She was utterly lame, drug her body with two legs, unable to even sit or urinate. Slowly starving to death, she was tiny and only weighed 2 kilos. I didn’t hesitate to take her in. One veterinarian wrongly diagnosed her and advised putting her to sleep!

“I didn’t give up though. Each day I spent with her and gained her trust. I find myself most happy alongside animals due to my disability. They do not judge me for being deaf. I slowly hand fed her, gently moved her legs each and every day and provided her with 24/7 care. Weeks went by and she slowly started to gain weight. One morning whilst we did gentle rehab, she stood up and started to walk!

“We grew such a bond. I spent nearly 3 months rehabilitating her back to health and now she can run and even play. Buttercup recently went to a fox sanctuary were she will be safe and live an enriched life away from man’s harm! Placing her back into an urban setting would put her in danger due to her weakness in the spine.”

At the end of November 2021, she wrote this on LinkedIn: “We are about to start our rehabilitation for the afternoon, her back legs need to gain more strength which could take another 6 weeks to fully heal.”

Click on each photo below for a larger view.

Jessie Irion

“My daughter-in-law and I helped save a baby horned owl when it fell from the tree and was abandoned by his mom. I caught it in a baby blanket and then we put it into a cat carrier and called wildlife rescue and they took it from there. It sure felt good to save that little fellow.”

Sonya Dibbin

“I’ve been feeding and providing shelter for wild hedgehogs in my garden for a few years. This year, sadly, my resident adult female got her foot snapped shut in a rat trap.

“I took her to the veterinarian where sadly she was put out of pain with euthanasia. A few weeks later, I started being visited by a teeny hoglet. The next day there were two, and eventually there were four.

“They were small and going into winter probably needed some extra help to survive so I captured them, weighed them and yes, they were worryingly small.

“They are now safe at a rescue facility and are being treated for ticks and lungworm.”

Thank you, dear Wildlife Warriors, for your keen intuition, bravery and patience!


Pet Protectors

Pet protectors are those lovely souls who save, rescue and protect animals we consider our pets. From caring for feral cats to vaccinating stray dogs to volunteering in shelters, etc. Who are the Pet Protectors of 2021?

Animal Rights Activists

Activists rescued 68 dogs from being slaughtered for the annual Yulin Dog Meat Festival in China. Read more about this successful rescue here.

An Officer and a Gentleman

Read this story of an elderly man who reported to the authorities that ‘a spot’ on a cliff wasn’t there before and that it was an animal in danger. Indeed, it was a dog who’d gone missing two weeks prior, unable to free himself out of a rocky situation.

Madolline Gourley

What do you do when you can’t travel with your pets but don’t like the idea of boarding? As an expat, I want to visit my family and friends in the USA (I live in Germany) but with my beloved pets, it’s very challenging.

In recent years, we’ve had an enormous amount of luck with the teenaged daughters of our close friends who lived in our home and were more than happy to stay in a house with our dog and cat. Win-win, but it’s not always easy to find a pet sitter in your area, so what do you do?

Madolline has the perfect solution:
“I offer free live-in cat care for owners when they’re away. This kind of arrangement is organised through websites like Aussie House Sitters and TrustedHousesitters.

“Since I started, I’ve cared for over 40 different cats. Of which, about half have been rescues! This year I have cared for only one rescue cat, but that’s because domestic travel within Australia has been VERY difficult because of COVID.

“Owners much prefer this arrangement, even if it means having a stranger live/stay in their home, because their pet’s routine doesn’t get disrupted. It also means the pet doesn’t have to live in an unfamiliar, perhaps scary, environment with other animals (e.g. pet hotels).”

Meet Madolline and Jaspurr:

These pet sitting services are usually free for the owners and offer the sitters a wonderful chance to travel and cuddle. Read more about Madolline’s sitting experience here. I will definitely look into this solution because our previous arrangement is no longer possible. Cats don’t like to be moved around! Dogs are easier to relocate and my Labrador, Nala, LOVES to travel, but if we fly across the ocean, it’s just too difficult and stressful for her. It’s also very expensive to have her stay a pet sitter’s home at 200 EUR per week and boarding is not personal enough!

Thank you, beloved Pet Protectors, for your warm heart and important work!


Creative Champions

What would our world be like if we didn’t have creative artwork, films, books, photos, etc.? Pretty darn dull. Well, thankfully there are creative humans who have made it their mission to help save animals through their work. Either by auctioning off their masterpieces, giving back a portion of their sales to an animal rights organization or just raising so much awareness that people start to listen and act.

Who are the Creative Champions of 2021?

Jo-Anne McArthur -- We Animals Media

Miyoko Schinner, founder of Miyoko’s Creamery, spends time with Fred Astaire, a resident rescued turkey at her sanctuary, Rancho Compasión. Photo: Jo-Anne McArthur, We Animals Media

Jo-Anne McArthur

In 2018, I visited the International Nature Photography Festival in Germany and met writer Keith Wilson who was presenting his new book, a collection of photos showing horrific crimes committed by humans on non-human animals: Photographers against Wildlife Crime.

In fact, the conversation I had with Keith inspired me to publish my book about animal testing for preteens: Lily Bowers and the Uninvited Guest. I had finished the first draft in October 2017 and was literally crushed after receiving the developmental editor’s comments. This was my first book, but I learned, optimized, trudged on and published it on April 24, 2019: World Day for Laboratory Animals, so thank you, Keith for that inspiration!

At this festival, I bought a copy of Keith’s book and saw the name Jo-Anne McArthur for the first time and have been a fan all their work ever since!

Jo-Anne’s an award-winning photojournalist, author, speaker, and educator as well as the founder of We Animals Media, the world’s leading animal photojournalism agency which offers 10,000+ royalty-free images and video to raise awareness about animal crimes. Jo-Anne’s also the co-founder of the Unbound Project which “celebrates contemporary and historic women at the forefront of animal advocacy worldwide”.

Her last book published in 2020, HIDDEN: Animals in the Anthropocene, reveals stories and scenes showing “our conflict with non-human animals around the globe”.

Her achievements this year include but are not limited to:

Ralph, the tester

One piece of genius deserves recognition this year and that is Saving Ralph, a short stop-motion animation to spread awareness about animal testing in the cosmetic industry.

Thanks goes out to the Humane Society International, film creators Spencer Susser, Wes Anderson and Tim Burton, set designer and puppet maker Andy Gent, voice actors Taika Waititi, Ricky Gervais, Zac Efron and Olivia Munn and every other caring human who worked on this project.

Johnny Armstrong

Author of Shadowshine: An Animal Adventure and a soon-to-be-published textbook about conservation.

In a recent interview by The Table Read, Johnny admitted that he didn’t have an intention to write a book but from what I gather, his soul told him he must get a very important message out. And that he did with Shadowshine!

In his own words: “Homo sapiens should “feel” connected with nature every waking moment. We should all embrace the nature-human connectedness and kinship so well expressed and celebrated by the Native Americans. They get it.”

I get it too and am proud to present Shadowshine: An Animal Adventure:
On a quest to rescue his community from a fiery demise, possum and poet Zak, seeks assistance from rodents in the North and sets out on a journey into the ancient forest. But separated from his own surroundings and his bobcat companion, Sena, he loses his sense of direction and becomes hopelessly lost in the wilderness. Here, Zak enters a world of self-discovery as he struggles to survive starvation, predation, drowning, illness and ice. Meanwhile, his forest-folk comrades he left behind suffer the menace of drought, wildfire and the malicious deeds of Mungo, an indomitable villain actively ravaging precious ecosystems. As Zak’s feathered and furry friends await such an uncertain future, they formulate the theory that Mungo and the others of his species have lost cognizance of what they are, causing them to become “familiar” and bring havoc upon the forest—all, because they were never taught to use their noses as a reference. But unbeknownst to everyone, the havoc originates inside a dark world whose terrifying resident has, itself, become familiar; and Zak will play a key role in events that ultimately end in a savage showdown.

Thank you, dear Creative Champions, for using your talent to help protect animals!

Are you an animal hero, too?

Exploitation Eliminators

Animals have been used and abused for a very long time. Somewhere along the line, we decided we were ‘above nature’ and could do as we please with other souls sharing this place we call home. In doing that, we are affected by diseases and pandemics as well as natural disasters due to climate change.

We’re destroying our own species as well as our environment and until we embrace a deep ecological philosophy in that we humans are not above nature, we ARE nature and must therefore, protect all life on Earth, we will cause destruction to ourselves, other species and our planet.

I’m relieved to know there are caring humans who’ve made it their life’s purpose to help exploited animals. Exploited animals are those souls used for entertainment, clothing, medical reasons, food, sport, etc. The list of unnecessary abuse is endless.

Who are this year’s Exploitation Eliminators?


Aditya is studying Animal Protection Law at the National Legal Studies Research Institute in India and is the wild animal suffering outreach coordinator for Animal Ethics. He works with them about raising awareness against speciesism and how animals are impacted by our attitudes towards them. He also raises concerns for wild animal suffering and how animals in nature suffer terribly due to human cause and natural factors and why it is important to assist them.

Listen to this interview with Aditya:

Markus Barth and Doctors against Animal Experiments

Meet Nelly, a labrador rescue, and Markus Barth, an animal rights activist and the owner of a logistics company in Germany sporting his newly decorated 12-wheeler to spread awareness about the insanity and cruelty of vivisection for Doctors against Animal Experiments.

This isn’t his first truck to help protect animals. In fact, it’s #60 of a total of 70 trailers with an important message!

I had the pleasure to work closely with Doctors against Animal Experiments to design this truck!

Read the full article about this project: Marketing for the Animals : Activism on the Autobahn.

Thank you, Exploitation Eliminators, for your continuous action against heinous crimes committed on animals!

I’ve just read about the Animal Heroes of 2021! Power to the people who care about all life on Earth!

Loving Leaders

Without people in power who care, a systems change is almost impossible. Luckily there are true leaders who want to create a better world! Who are the Loving Leaders of 2021?

European Parliament

In a historical vote on September 15, 2021, the European Parliament almost unanimously called for the complete phase out of animal experiments! 667 voted YES, 4 NO & 16 Undecided.

Although this historical vote is not legally binding, it has set the phase out in motion because now, the European Commission must create an EU-wide action plan by defining milestones and targets to replace lab animals with non-animal human-relevant methods.

A win for both human and non-human animals because let’s face it, we are not monkeys, beagles, cats, rabbits, mice, fruit flies, zebrafish or any other animal they torture and kill in labs across the world.

We are humans and it only makes sense to test on our own cells and our own mini organs created by the incredible technology we have today. It’s useless and risky to our own health to torture any soul for the sake of medicine. If you’re interested in reading more about this topic, read my article on the truth about animal testing.

We only have so many medicinal side effects and still no cures for common diseases because we’ve wasted a ton of money and time on the medieval and cruel methods of animal testing. In Germany alone, over 99% of the funding goes to testing on animals. The psychological tests on animals is incredibly ridiculous and you know what? We taxpayers fund this crap! How stupid! But that will change soon, thank goodness, and I hope it happens fast and other countries will follow suit!

Read more about this historical vote here.

Kathrin Herrmann

Kathrin Herrmann, DipECAWBM (AWSEL), PhD, is a veterinary expert in animal welfare science, ethics and law. She works at CAAT (Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing) at John Hopkins University in the USA and directs their Beyond Classical Refinement Program. Last year, she even took on the position as the Animal Protection Commissioner of Berlin. Her CV is incredible and one day, I hope to meet her in person!

Starting last year and continuing on this year, she collaborated with Charlotte Blattner and Eva Meijer to organize and host a free webinar series about animals, climate change and global health during the COVID-19 crisis.

By the way, all but one photo used on their website for this webinar series were shot by the famous animal rights activist and photographer Jo-Anne McArthur mentioned above.

Read Kathrin’s latest report about why the Forced Swim Test in Rats for Depression Research needs to be abolished.

What I love about Kathrin’s work is that she provides education in a scientific yet understandable fashion which is key to creating change.

Thank you, Loving Leaders, for using your power , intelligence and influence to help animals, humans included, without a voice or a chance.

Energy Elevators

In a world of our lost connection with nature, it’s now relevant to come back to our natural state. With human-induced climate change due to industrialization, mobilization and increased population and greed, we’re easily developing and spreading diseases and pandemics on a global scale while driving our own species into extinction and, taking with us, thousands of other species.

We are currently experiencing WWWIII — a war against humanity declared by humanity.

Indigenous cultures understood our human role on Earth and live with a deep ecological philosophy in that we humans are not above nature, we ARE nature and therefore, must protect it. Every species is important and must be treated with respect and love.

Without trying to be all doomy and gloomy, I’ve added Energy Elevators as a new category this year because I feel these uplifting stories from those who truly understand the souls of animals must also be shared!

Who are the Energy Elevators of 2021?

Wynter Worsthorne

I first heard of Wynter and her business, Animal Talk Africa, last year and immediately fell in love with her work. She’s an animal communicator and helps animals and their human owners understand each other in a more effective way. Her work expands to wild species and she is often called in by rangers and parks to help wild or rescued animals in need.

She tunes into animals in a way that was previously unfamiliar to me, telepathically, soul to soul, either right there in the same room, out in the wild or remotely by just using a photo. This may sound a bit woo-woo to you, but it’s what our ancient ancestors did on a daily basis and it’s what every human is capable of if the right mindset, patience, intentions and love are present.

It’s natural to be able to communicate with other species.

The fact that Wynter speaks with animals isn’t the amazing part though. It’s the messages the animals give her to give us. From the story of her much-need work with sacred white lions to showing us the most effective way to prepare ourselves and our beloved family members to cross the rainbow bridge. Each story is unique and sometimes, quite unexpected.

I learned from Wynther that animals are not revengeful or hateful because of our ‘evil ways’. They want us to be present, to love and to understand our important role and responsibility in this world as humans.

Her many stories prove that she has an incredible gift of communicating with all species which is why I signed up for her animal communication course and have started to practice learning this very skill and I must admit, it works! I now have proof that I’ve connected and communicated with a few animals and this is only the beginning.

If you also want to connect more with animals, I highly recommend browsing her website, taking an online course and/or watching her webinars and videos.

Sarah Matthews

“I used an energy modality to change a horse’s fate from euthanasia to living and running freely in a field with his mate. He can no longer be ridden but is alive and happy.”

Julie Mullins

I met both Sarah above and Julie in a FB group, run by one of my valued coaches who is as much of an animal lover as I; the inspirational Jen Thomas. Upon asking if anyone has saved, protected or helped animals this year in her group, Julie told me this amazing story of how she helped a pet rabbit named Chloe.

Julie’s trained in many different energy healing modalities — including Reiki — so she just uses whichever she’s guided to, depending on who and what she’s treating.

Chloe’s Story:
“I have treated a rabbit who has had GI Stasis four times, and also got attacked by another rabbit and severely injured her leg. The veterinarians didn’t think she would survive the shock and weren’t sure if they could operate as it was in such a delicate area. They were considering amputation and expecting complications but the whole leg healed up in weeks and she’s been fine ever since. I treat her once every six weeks now and she’s not had stasis for over six months.

“Chloe’s a therapy rabbit for a little girl who had meningitis twice, and now has adhd and autism. Without any formal training, she just knows when she’s needed for a cuddle, or when to just quietly sit next to the little girl and wait for the tears or the anger to pass. Chloe stays on her bed every night, and it helps her to sleep. It’s really quite amazing to see them together.”

Is your heart melting, too? Animals really are very sensitive to our feelings because they don’t have the many layers of ego we humans do. In normal circumstances, they act on intuition, instinct and pure love!

Read more about Julie’s work on her website.

Thank you, Energy Elevators, for your intuition, positive energy and understanding.

Are you or someone you know an animal hero?

Do you know any animals heroes? Please comment below and let’s talk!

Wishing you and your family a wonderful new year!

Peace and love,
Sharing is Caring

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