On April 20, 2016 four whales became trapped by floating ice off Sakhalin Island, Russia in the North Pacific Ocean.
The distressed whales alerted rescuers in nearby Starodubsky village with their haunting cries.
Villagers used a small boat and a vehicle on shore in a valiant effort clear a path in the sea to allow the mammals to swim to deeper waters.
Three of the whales including the baby, reached the open sea fairly quickly, thanks to rescue efforts. However, the fourth whale, the largest, took much longer.
Sakhalin rescuer Dmitry Mikhailov said: 'We did everything for the salvation of this whale. For several hours we stayed in the water, pushing back the ice floats and helping the whale to move. We helped it to move to a deeper place.'
The rescue operation lasted all night long. Despite their efforts, initially the larger whale could not escape. But early in the morning April 20 reports said the mammal had successful swum away to open sea.
Rescuer Dmitry Mikhailov said: 'We were so surprised that people were so willing to help us.' He said 'our joy was indescribable' when the whale headed for the open sea.
Local photographer Dmitry Kovalev, who helped as a volunteer, wrote: 'We all were happy as children. The rescuers and volunteers spent all the night in the water. The whale behaved properly, understanding and helping the rescuers.'
'Our joy had no limits. We shouted, cried and smiled at the same time. The whale proudly raised fin and headed for the open sea!'
This heroic feat is not an isolated event by any means.
KJ had a hunch that most people would prefer to do the right thing once they knew the facts.
The Daily Mail reports similar animal rescues by ordinary people:
One captures a heroic boy in Noakhali, Bangladesh, who jumped into flood waters to rescue a drowning fawn. Miraculously, the baby deer was returned to its herd and ran off unscathed!
Another sees a group of firefighters in Wisconsin, USA, administering an improvised version of CPR to a dog they'd just pulled from a burning house.
Still another depicts a donkey being rescued from a water well in China, and a group of people in the Caribbean who formed a human wall to help guide baby sea turtles safely to the ocean.
There are literally thousands of stories on the internet about people saving distressed animals, sometimes at great peril to themselves.
The recorded rescues are but the tip of the iceberg. The vast majority are not witnessed, recorded or make their way onto YouTube. The people undertaking them don't expect any reward or thanks or public recognition.
For most, the act of saving an animal in danger is automatic and instinctual. It's just the right action to take. Most people "just do it" (as the Nike slogan entreats) when the opportunity presents itself.
Interestingly, as the Russian rescuers of the four whales noted, the pure joy of seeing the animal free to roam the open seas for another day is indescribable.
Unfortunately MILLIONS of animals are in a state of manmade danger and distress every day. Their plight is every bit as bad as the animals mentioned above but their fate is sealed. Unlike in stories above, no one is coming to rescue them!
These are the animals on factory farms, in medical laboratories, in zoos, circuses, rodeos and aquariums.
30,000,000 of them are put to death every day, seven days a week in North America alone. Worldwide, that number could be five to ten times higher.
These animals endure unspeakable torture (at least that's what it would be called if they were human beings) and often live in ghastly conditions for their usually short, miserable lives, as is described in excruciating in John Robbins' Diet for a New America.
"Diet for a New America 25th Anniversary Edition I believe," chimed in Rafa. Clearly, he remembered.
"That was mind-boggling," Kiara said, recollecting her conversation with Pearce about the travesty befalling the animal kingdom on a daily basis at the hands of people everywhere.
"Yes! It's been bothering me ever since I read it,” KJ said, pacing like a puma.
"Yeah, I kind of figured that."
"Even though it seemed pretty credible when I read it, I bet it was exaggerated," Rafa said. "You know, to sell copies." - The Invisible Reich
If you think that these statements are an exaggeration, I invite you to have a look at the many videos on PETA's website or Mercy For Animals or indeed, read John Robbins’ spellbinding indictment of America's eating habits in DIET FOR A NEW AMERICA (25th anniversary edition).
ONCE YOU KNOW, chances say that you will also "do the right thing."
What could that be? It's different for everyone.
Maybe you eat less meat (or none at all).
Some might switch to dairy alternatives like vegan cheese or Almond milk.
Others may choose to skip the local rodeo, circus or marine park, spending their hard-earned dollars on more animal-friendly entertainment alternatives.
Could be you opt for vinyl, polyester, nylon, Alcantara or imitation leather car seats when you buy your next automobile.
How about faux fur for your next winter parka?
Perhaps you boycott companies that test their products on animals (www.globalanimal.org).
Send a few bucks to Sea Shepherd Society, Mercy for Animals or PETA (where 85% of your dollar will go DIRECTLY to animal welfare programs).
Female fashionistas who are still kids at heart might consider switching to vegan, cruelty free makeup from CRAYOLA - yeah, the crayon company!
Next time you get an oil change, consider ditching synthetic oil which contains pig by-products.
Try a plant-based, Beyond Meat burger at A & W.
The list is ENDLESS. Every little bit helps and when it's multiplied by millions, it helps a lot.
But ONCE YOU KNOW you can't ever go back to blissful ignorance - and that's a good thing for you, the environment and the billions of animals on the planet Earth!