The Story of Tara
In September of 2008, Roger Triantafilo and Erica Hansen decided they would kick at a ball around a local Bakersfield park. It was getting late and the lights at the park would soon be out, when out of the corner of his eye, Roger spotted a bouncing fur ball coming their way. This adorable kitten wanted to play too, but it was time to start heading home. The entire walk, the kitten was no more than a few yards away. Being that she was so friendly, they assumed she must have a home and would surely return. However after several days, the kitten refused to leave. The kitten had no intention of leaving them. They decided to name her Zatara from the Count of Monte Cristo, meaning driftwood. They would call her Tara (tawr-a) for short. After her first visit to the veterinarians office, they discovered Tara was around 6 months old, born approximately April 2008.
Tara moved into Roger and Erica’s nearby apartment.She spent the majority of her time chasing laser pointers up the walls, chasing flies, and playing loudly in the blinds of the bedroom late at night. She also enjoyed the short car trips to and from the house she had followed them to for play dates with their three cats and Black Labrador mix.
By early 2009, Roger and Erica were married and purchased the family’s current home which vastly expanded Tara’s playground. She transitioned easily to the new home loving all of the extra room to roam. Soon, she wasn’t happy with merely exploring the indoor areas of the home. She began looking for bigger and better adventures. Tara started clawing at the screen doors or squeaking her paws down the glass in order to be allowed outside, though she never left the yard and at a simple call of her name would come dashing back.
Then, Tara began noticing all sorts of new things being moved around the house over the summer. A new small bed was set up in one of the bedrooms which she assumed was hers as she tried to sleep in it every night. That October, Tara was introduced to Jeremy, the newest member of the family. Though he was sometimes loud, she took to him immediately. She would follow him around, even sleeping in Erica’s lap while Jeremy was being fed. She would also check on him when he’d cry and even try to sneak into the crib as he slept.
Christmas time came and it was a dream! A 12 ft tree moved in and Tara promptly removed all ornaments. It seemed like the fun wasn’t going to end, until Roger brought someone new into the home. It was a 2 month old Husky/ German Shepherd puppy they had named Maya. Though Tara wasn’t too sure about this new rambunctious puppy, the pair quickly became best of friends, even if Tara had to reprimand Maya when she got a little too slobbery.
Tara lived happily over the next few years chasing Jeremy and Maya around the yard and even welcomed two more additions to the family in 2012, twins Carson and Connor. Tara loved her small humans, allowing them to pull, push, carry, and sometimes sit on her, never hissing or scratching at them even once.
Tara was a remarkable cat even then! Those who saw her with the kids, or walking Jeremy to the bus, or had the pleasure of being escorted from their car into the house by Tara all knew how wonderful she was. A group of neighborhood girls would even come by the house to visit and play with her. But, it was nothing compared to the day she shook the world.
On May 13 2014 just like so many times before, Tara joined Erica out front to greet Jeremy as he came home from school while the twins napped. She joined them in their attempt to fly a kite then went to go relax in the garden while Jeremy rode his bother’s balance bike and Erica watered the plants. The neighbors next door had opened their gate while they backed out their car. While doing this, their dog was let out of their backyard. No one expected what happened next. The one year old Labrador/ Chow mix came around the family car in the driveway and sunk his teeth into Jeremy’s leg violently shaking and dragging the boy from his bike. Before Erica could even react from a few yards away, Tara sprung into action knocking the dog off Jeremy and chasing it away. Tara promptly returned to Jeremy while Erica chased the dog away for the second time and alerted the owners.
Tara returned to normal life that evening not even acknowledging her own extraordinary actions. After downloading the family’s security camera footage hours after the attack, everyone was finally able to see what an amazing act of heroism Tara had displayed. The following morning, Roger uploaded the video to YouTube to share with disbelieving family and friends. But what he didn’t know was that in a matter of hours the rest of the world would see as well.