Enter Christian the Lion, the all-time reigning champion of Real Life animal-related tear jerkers. As the video explains, two Brits bought a lion cub that they helped raise, but the lion (named Christian, since he was trained in a church field) eventually became too big for their flat. The Brits were forced to release Christian into the wilds of Africa. One year later, they wanted to see Christian, but were told that such a thing would be impossible, since Christian was now the leader of his own pride and had gone fully wild. Undaunted, the two men still found Christian in the wild. When Christian saw his old friends, the full-grown lion remembered them, ran up to them and hugged them both.
When otters want to float on the water for a long time (for example, when they sleep), they hold hands. Otters literally hold hands.
This video of a dog risking his/her life to drag another dog to safety after the other dog had been hit by a car. The hero dog apparently ran off and disappeared somewhere after the incident, but that doesn't make it any less touching.
Pretty much any picture of a dog and cat together, despite their history of being enemies. You can find some pictures here◊, here◊ and here.
Baekgu; a dog that travelled 180 miles just to see his original owner.
This article on Mental_floss shows videos of soldiers returning home from overseas to be greeted by their wildly enthusiastic dogs.
The U.S. military authorities don't like it when troops adopt animals they find in battle zones, especially when they want to send the animals home to their families. Dogs and cats who'd become unit mascots, some of whom had saved lives, were abandoned or killed when their humans were shipped home. Until SPCA International stepped in in 2007 at the request of Sgt. Edward Watson and his dog Charlie. They handle the vaccines, the paperwork, the supplies, everything that's needed to get these animals to the homes of the soldiers' families in the States. Soon after Charlie was saved, the Associated Press carried the story of Spc. Gwen Beberg and her dog Ratchet and the money began pouring in. Operation Baghdad Pups, in defiance of U.S. military policy, has saved countless lives and reunited our men and women in uniform with their buddies. Just have a look at this.◊ And this.
The story of Tad (Short for The Abandoned Dog/Totally Awesome Dog). Tad was found by the side of the road, in horrible condition- bleeding from multiple wounds (most of them badly infected), dehydrated and near-starving, sporting two kinds of mange, infested with two kinds of worms, his claws ingrown, and his skin dry and cracking. The vet tech who found him immediately took him home and gave him food, water, and pain medication, and made a blog to chronicle her efforts to help him, with a Paypal link if anyone wanted to help pay for the vet bills. Three months of dedication on his new owner's part and donations on the readers' later, Tad was happy, healthy, rambunctious, and had enough Cheez-Wiz to last a lifetime. tl;dr
Discovery Channel documentary "World's Toughest Tribes" has an episode on the Park Rangers at Virunga National Park. The whole episode is a Crowning Moment of Awesome as well as a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming, but especially towards the end, the leader of the Rangers starts talking about the mountain gorillas he is protecting, and how one he previously worked with recognised him after a long period of seperation. The obvious love and affection in his voice while talking about these animals is startling and heartwarming, especially considering the violent and hard life these men lead. It restored my faith in Humanity. I salute you, Eli Mundema, wherever you are.
This video has a National Geographic photographer work in the Antarctic where he finds this gigantic leopard seal. The seal moves up to the guy, does some threat displays (which freaks him the hell out, since this thing's jaws are twice as big as a grizzly bear's), but then she goes over and grabs a penguin then offers it to his camera (likely thinking it the face). The penguin swims away, so the seal tries again. After the scenario repeats itself several times with the seal becoming more and more disgusted with the camera's ineptitude, something dawns on her and she becomes more and more panicked because she thinks that the creature she's offering penguins to is hurt. So she offers him injured penguins, and dead penguins, and eats a penguin to show him how its done and offers a dismembered penguin to try and feed him... one hopes they made a modification to the camera so it could fake eating the penguin and soothe the leopard seal's worries.
"I think she thought the camera was my mouth, which is every photographer's dream. This went on for four days. So, here I came to Antarctica, to photograph this potentially vicious animal, to have this predator - this top predator in Antarctica - take care of me, and nurture me, and feed me for four days straight. It was the most incredible experience I've ever had as a National Geographic photographer."
This trailer for the African Cats movie. It's incredibly moving to see the lengths that a mother animal will go to protect her family. It just goes to show that love isn't exclusive to humans.
This GIF. A mischievous young chimpanzee pushes its younger sibling/cousin into a canal and no less than three adults immediately rush over to pull out and comfort the baby. They really are non-human people.
The entire The Cat who went to Paris series. Norton showed almost unconditional love to all he came across, and even managed to earn a moment of silence on the radio when he died, now that is one loving cat.
The story about the crow and the stray kitten. No, you read that right. The crow visited the cat for four years until he/she was certain the cat would be okay without protection. The cat now lives with the old man in the video and is 10.
There was a news story showed how a banker helped a family of ducks off a high ledge to the river, first catching the ducklings as they jumped off the edge, then leading them through crowds all the way to the river. It's equal parts sweet and heartwarming.
The story of Springer, the young orca. After her mother died, she got separated from her pod and wound up in Puget Sound, Washington. Emaciated and sick, she tried to alleviate her loneliness by coming up to boats and ferries and rubbing against them. Researchers compared her vocalizations to the various orca pods of Washington and British Columbia, and tracked down her immediate family; her grandmother, grandaunt, aunts, uncles and cousins. A joint Canadian-American operation was launched to first capture her, then treat her back to full health, and finally move and release her to Johnstone Strait, where she could rejoin her relatives. Since then, she has been seen every year with her family, being raised by her grandaunt, happy and healthy.
By extension, this guy's entire Youtube account. He does nothing but catch stray dogs, treat and rehabilitate them, then find them new homes. It's a wall-to-wall battery of Crowning Moments of Heartwarming.
This video shows a cat who mistakenly thinks a babysitter hurt his owners' baby and attacks her. While you feel sorry for the babysitter, it's sweet to see the cat get so protective of the baby and it definitely disproves the stereotype that cats are any less protective or loyal than dogs. And don't worry, the babysitter wasn't hurt. No claws were involved.
This. A wild dolphin has a hook and fishing line stuck in its fin, preventing its full range of movement. What does it do? Find some human divers to help it. And they do. Not only does this show how intelligent dolphins are, but the trust that dolphin showed is heartwarming.
This has been getting surprisingly common in recent years with quite a lot of different animals, mainly mammals. Hedgehogs in particular, when injured, crawl into people's gardens and just sit in the middle of them, waiting to be found. It's heartwarming to know that while humans are responsible for the destruction of forests and the extinction of many species, some animals will still turn to us for help.
Chris P. Bacon was a piglet who was born without back legs, though he was perfectly healthy otherwise. Chris's new owner would go on to make wheels for the animal to use so it could move about normally, and the little guy seems to be all the happier for it. Awwww...
Stephen Fry hosted an amazing, entertaining, and informative multi-part TV special called "Last Chance to See", based on the Douglas Adams work of the same name and about the various animals of the world in dire danger of becoming extinct. On the last episode they made a special effort to help out a rare breed of rhino who'd been hunted to extinction in the wild; there were only eight such rhino living and all eight were in capitivity in two zoos (two in the U.S. and the rest in an Eastern European zoo). The BBC, who produced "Last Chance to See", the Eastern European zoo, an African wildlife refuge called the Ol Pejeta Conservancy, and (the international shippers) DHL all worked together to transport four of the most promising rhino to said refuge, which had the best space and security possible, so they could breed in their natural environment and perhaps rescue the breed of rhino from total extinction.
This. Heartwarming for the kindness, but definitely a Tearjerker for the dog. Try not to cry while watching this.
In the aftermath of the May 20th, 2013 tornado in Moore, Oklahoma, an elderly woman who had survived the tornado was talking to CBS reporters about how her attempt to get to safety with her dog was stopped by the tornado's sudden arrival. In the aftermath, she had lost the dog. During the interview, one of the crew shouts out "A dog. A dog!" The camera zooms in to see the woman's little dog trapped under rubble but still alive. They lifted the rubble out and owner and pet were reunited. To quote the woman, "When I asked God to answer one prayer, to let me be okay, he answered both of them..."
This article, in which a man was saved from a giant tsunami by a saltwater crocodile of all things.
On the subject of crocodilians, there was Pocho, an American crocodile who had his life saved by a man when he treated his bullet-inflicted wound and became his faithful companion in return. And Bubba, a trained American alligator who gives children rides on his back during a road show about reptiles. Turns out you cansmile at a crocodile after all.
This story about two puppies who fell into a pit and were cared for and protected for two days by a venomous cobra.
This video about an elephant named Raju who was chained and abused for 50 years in India getting rescued on a midnight raid on July 4th, 2014. Doubles as a Moment of Awesome due to raising awareness of elephant abuse.
This story from the New York Daily News: A Brazilian fisherman found a Patagonian penguin severely injured on the rocks. He nursed the penguin back to health, named him "Dindin," and sent him on his way. Every year since then, Dindin swims back to Brazil to reunite with the man who saved his life.
Campus Cat, a large and ridiculously friendly orange kitty who visits the University of Augsburg every single day. While he has an owner who lives nearby, he likes spending his days on campus snuggling up to stressed out students in the library.
Simple but sweet: In April 2015, University of Manchester organised an event for their students called Room Full Of Puppies.
Dissertations are hard, and everything can get a bit stressful at this time of year. With that in mind, Manchester Nightline and the When Will You Ask? campaign are putting on a puppy room for all you students still in Manchester. Come along and play with some gorgeous Golden Retriever puppies in Room 6 of the Students' Union! It's completely free and delightfully cuddly.
This video. In summary, an eagle hits a paraglider and gets tangled in the ropes. After a successful crash landing, the pilot gets his bearing, calls his friends and explains the situation. Their main concern, besides his well-being is "Try not to kill it". The guy does consider this possibility, but only as a last-ditch option, and goes to painstakingly untangling his hapless assailer, who remains remarkably docile throughout the entire operation, as if realising that the human is going to help it. It even lets the guy pet it! Doubles as a Funny Moment, if you know Russian and don't mind some creative profanity.
A couple in the UK were mourning the sudden death of their cat Bear when Bear's brother Teddy came home with a note attached to his collar. It turns out the kitty brothers were regular visitors to a lonely exchange student from Taiwan who lived nearby. They had kept her company while she studied and helped her cope with homesickness and after the owners informed her of the cat's death, she even paid a visit to his grave.
In 2010, Jonathan Metz' arm became trapped behind his boiler when he tried to clean behind it. He realized that not only was he going to die if he didn't cut his arm off, so was his pet beagle Portia, who was wandering around upstairs, hungry and confused as to why he had disappeared and whose barking fits were becoming shorter and less frequent, coinciding with his own weakening state. His story was featured on the show I Survived, and among the various footnotes detailing his recovery?
"Jonathan's dog Portia also survived."
On September 11, 2001, Omar Eduardo Rivera (who is blind) was on the 71st floor of the North Tower of the World Trade Center. Fearing that he would never make it down the stairs in time, he released his guide dog Salty from his harness so that the animal might have a chance to escape. The dog came back, nudged and pawed at him until it was finally obvious he was not leaving without his master, and led him down 70 flights of stairs to safety. What was especially touching to Rivera was the realization that not only did Salty love him enough to come back for him, he would have stayed there and perished with him had he not decided to leave.
Michael Hinson's guide dog Roselle managed to not only save her owner, but 30 others. She led the group to safety just before the second tower started to collapse. After she had led him to safety, she also helped her owner lead another survivor who had been blinded by debris to safety.
Also from 9/11, the story of Sirius, a 4-year old bomb-detecting gold Labrador who was the only police dog to perish in the disaster. His death is a Tearjerker, but how he was treated upon the discovery of his remains is both of these tropes—the machines were stopped, his body was draped with an American flag, a priest said a prayer over him , and everyone present saluted as he was carried out—everything that had been done for his human counterparts. A memorial service for him was attended by 400 people, including 100 K-9 teams, two dog parks were named after him, and he was awarded the Victoria Cross by the British Embassy. There is currently an ongoing campaign to add his name to the memorial.
When the last of the 300 dogs who participated in the rescue and recovery efforts was euthanized (due to kidney failure) on June 6, 2016, a group of firefighters lined up to salute her as she walked into the clinic, and did so again when her remains were carried out.
A golden retriever named Storm lept into Long Island Sound to rescue a drowning fawn. Upon pulling it to safety, he nudged and pawed at it until it got up.
This video of a mother cat hugging her kitten when it's apparently having a nightmare.
The case of Grandpa Mason. An ancient feral cat with advanced kidney disease, Mason was taken to a suburban home so that he could live the rest of his life in safety and comfort. That alone would be pretty heartwarming, but an encounter with some foster kittens allowed him to show his softer side. As of this writing, Mason is still alive, and has served as a "grandfather" figure to several litters of kittens.
In Russia, a local cat named Masha found an abandoned infant in the hallway of an apartment complex. She spent the night curled up against the baby and yowled until residents heard her cries and discovered the two. After the baby was rushed to the hospital, he was found to be perfectly healthy as her thick fur kept him warm through the severe winter night. If it hadn't been for Masha's protective instincts, the baby would have froze to death. Not only that, the ambulance even allowed her to accompany them to the hospital as she kept trying to follow it.
This video of a corgi comforting a crying girl. Aww!
The bond between Carrie Fisher and her Emotional Support Dog, Gary Fisher, which was strong enough to the point where Gary recognized her when she posthumously appeared in The Last Jedi. And for the record, Gary is absolutely adored by the Star Wars fandom.
In this video, a mother cat takes her kittens to meet an old friend of hers, who happens to be a dog. Interspecies Friendships are heartwarming enough already, but her being close enough to the dog to trust them with her offspring is sure to give the warm fuzzies.
If you like these warmhearted stories specifically about cats, go to Love Meow. Cats and many other animals are covered at The Dodo.
Both parts of "Pigs on the Wing" are heartwarming because, unlike most Floyd songs, they are beautiful love songs that offer a welcoming sense of compassion, and essentially say that You Are Not Alone.