Tara, the heroic Bakersfield feline who chased off a dog that attacked her young owner in 2014, will be featured on a special Rose Parade float on New Year's Day.

Tara and Jeremy Triantafilo, the boy she saved, and the rest of their family are part of the Lucy Pet Foundation Paws For Life float that will honor heroic animals.

In 2014, Jeremy's father released a video showing Tara's heroic actions. Young Jeremy was riding a small bike in his driveway when a neighbor's dog got loose, bit him, and began dragging him down the driveway. Tara sprinted to the dog, threw an impressive body block that knocked the dog away from the boy, and then chased the attacker away.

Jeremy needed a few stitches on his leg, but otherwise he was fine. The video has been viewed more than 30 million times, and many people dubbed Tara the hero cat or the ninja cat.

The heroic feline footage went viral on YouTube, making news in Germany, Australia, Taiwan and Russia, among other countries. Along with local media, reporters from "Today" and "Good Morning America" came calling.

Jeremy recovered. Tara emerged a star. The boy dropped the puck at a Bakersfield Condors game and he and Tara threw first pitches at Sam Lynn Ballpark. The cat also served as grand marshal of the 2014 Bakersfield Christmas Parade.

Later the family and the hero cat appeared on a television program in Germany and on "Animal Planet," making her one of Bakersfield's biggest celebrities.

Is an appearance at the Rose Parade cool beans or old hat?

Tara and her family were not available for comment Thursday.

Steven Mayer can be reached at 661-395-7353. Follow him on Facebook and on Twitter: @semayerTBC.

(2) comments

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REMUDA

As a cat owner (rather...owned by cats), this was a terrific testament to the protectiveness cats naturally have for their 'bondeds'. people are just big cats to most cats and are treated with the sane protective instincts most animals have for their young. I've had my Maine Coon yellow (like Morris) advance in front of me if there's a dog in sight...growling. Only had one dog that was like that...Mark, my Dobie years ago. Something about how we treat our kids, cats and dogs always comes home. Tara was fantastic, and didn't stop until the dog was gone, either and immediately went back to check on her 'son'...! Bravo Zulu, Tara...!

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