Tara the cat, made famous in a YouTube video that shows it saving a 4-year-old boy from a dog attack in Bakersfield, has been tapped for another duty: throwing the ceremonial first pitch at a local minor league baseball game.
Video footage of the cat ramming into and then chasing off the next door neighbor's dog as it attacks the boy's ankle went viral this week after it was posted by the boy's father, Roger Triantafilo. Since then, Tara the cat has become a local hero, and will do the honors -- with an assist from the Triantafilos -- at a Bakersfield Blaze game on May 20.
Caught on what appears to be security surveillance video, footage of the incident has racked up millions of views on YouTube within the last few days. It starts with the dog wandering near the family SUV in the driveway where 4-year-old Jeremy is riding his tricycle. A few seconds later, the dog suddenly comes around the SUV and attacks Jeremy's ankle, pulling him from the bike.
Within seconds, Tara the family cat sprints into view and rams into the dog before chasing it away from Jeremy.
Soon after, the cat returns to the boy as he is aided by his mother.
Jeremy, who received stitches for a deep bite wound on his leg, hailed the cat's save in an interview with KERO-TV Channel 23 in Bakersfield.
"Tara is my hero," he told the station.
In an interview with "Inside Edition," his father agreed, calling Tara a hero for putting "herself first."
"We're really grateful ... we're really lucky the way it turned out," Roger Triantafilo said. "If she hadn't intervened it would have been possibly worse."
The cat's intervention, besides the timing, was made all the more incredible given her typically laid back demeanor, the family said.
"Usually she's just very laid back, very mellow, very loving," Erica Triantafilo said.
Meanwhile, the owner of the 8-month-old male Labrador-Chow mix voluntarily surrendered it to the Bakersfield Animal Care Center, the Bakersfield Californian reported.
Bakersfield police Sgt. Joe Grubbs told the paper the dog will be quarantined for 10 days before it's put down, noting that "it's not adoptable, for obvious reasons.”