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Homeless man risks his life to save pet he calls his child

P8010053_thumb By Tamara | August 02, 2012 | Comments (34)

homeless man saves his rabbit

John Byrne is a well known and liked man who lives on a bridge in Dublin, Ireland and keeps two pets: a Jack Russell Terrier and a rabbit. They are his companions and rarely leave his side.

One evening an 18 year old man decided to commit a horrible act of animal cruelty by stealing John's rabbit and tossing it into the River Liffey.

John jumped to the rescue of his beloved rabbit named Barney, and risked his life to brave the freezing river. River Liffey is known to be filthy and have very strong currents, claiming lives every year. Miraculously, he managed to save Barney from drowning. After jumping into the water and successfully finding Barney, he had to pump air back into Barney's lungs, and help the rabbit regain consciousness. However, he then became stranded below the bridge. Freezing cold and unable to reach the bank, John had to wait for his own rescue by Dublin firefighters. Half way through the rescue, John is seen scuffling with the rescue team because the rescuers were taking John away from the bridge where his dog was waiting.

When John was asked why he risked his life for Barney and jumped into the  Liffey, he said, "Because he is my child, I love him and I just wanted to save him. I didn't think I just jumped."

While the 18-year-old was arrested on charges of public disorder and animal cruelty, John was given an award for his actions. The charity ARAN presented him with the 'compassionate citizen award'.

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Comments on this Article

what a man...so sweet what he did and how he was fighting to go back for his dog...but I think more than awards he needs home:/
i don't think you are nothing if you have a heart that big
Jean!!!!! Check out my previous comment He no longer lives on the streets :) I tried looking for him! There was a large public awareness raised, following this there were several coordinated fundraising events organised nationally by broadcasting services, and he got permenent residency and many donations! To date I have no idea where he lives in the Dublin area I pass where he stayed on O'Connell bridge in Dublin and I havent seen him at all recently. GOOD NEWS!
This man may have nothing but he sure has a big heart! On the other hand what kind of person thinks it's funny or fun to throw a helpless animal into a river? I hope the man and his kids find help and charity.,
what a truely lovely man god bless him and his babies hope he gets the help they need.
Sorry, I have been away for the past week and just returned to see that a lot of people want to help. First of all, can someone from Dublin try to locate him to find out if the community is helping him? Then we can go from there. I hope that we can work together to do something for him and for his two animal babies.
What a wonderful story. He said it was "his kid". I feel the same about my 4leg children.
Good On You Mate !!! A Gold Star Hero through and through.
This man is sooo great... Hope everyone could love animals the way he does. Truly it will be a wonderful place for Earth to live by....
oh thank u Lord 4 saving this man! And for giving just punishment!
omg, i hope the little bunny will be okay!!!! they're astonishingly fragile - even a short, sharp shock can cause a bunny's heart to stop! i wish they'd published the sadist's identity - 18 or not, that's someone he shouldn't be allowed to forget, ever.
UPDATE!!!!! I searched for this man in the city yesterday last night and this morning and i couldn't find him. Apparently he is off the streets thanks to generous donations from a national radio station here in Ireland. Im going to get in touch with the station to see if it is possible to still contribute to this guy and his family. Great news!!!!
I would love to see a update since a lot of people are trying to help him get a home etc... Guys and gals.. remember... he needs help long term... to get a job not just a place..... otherwise how can he continue to live in his place... I would help if I could but I am on disablity and have a son..... He touched my heart and he deserves to have a job or some kind of pension and live in a home with his 2 beloved "children"..... that man is HUMAN!!! there is not many that are like him... and we need more like him and ourselves who are also willing to help in any way we can.... I want a update ... I truly do... so if anyone in Dublin and can help him... please give us a update as to how he is doing,... and if he has gotten help with a place to live.. possibly some kind of pension or a job at least if he is not disabled in any way. Take care!!! One of your supporters! Liz
Wat een fantastische man .......respect !!
Someone could start an indiegogo.com account or a kickstarter.com fund for him. It would probably have to be someone in Dublin who can easily contact him
Someone could start an indiegogo.com account or a kickstarter.com fund for him. It would probably have to be someone in Dublin who can easily contact him
How wonderful to find so many people wanting to support this beautiful, amazing human being. Mr. Byrne will certainly have a better future for him and his babies. Please let me know how to help.
I've seen this man recently, and he is so lovely! He was feeding these two and not eating himself and quite happy to do so! I'm from Dublin and living there. What would you like me to do, if I can help!?
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