Rescued dog senses danger, saves owner from fire

Posted at 10:04 PM, Feb 10, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-11 15:34:08-05

A dog rescued from an animal shelter returned the favor by alerting his owner to danger in the middle of the night.

Drew Smith admits he was looking for a Golden Retriever when he went to the animal shelter in Bonita; but when he walked past Carl's cage, he knew.

"No dog is perfect," Smith said. "But, you know, they can be perfect for you."

Smith left the shelter that day without adopting Carl. He was worried about some dental issues the Spaniel-mix had. After tossing and turning all night, he came back the next day and made it official.

Smith and Carl have been together since October.

"He loves everybody," Smith said. "I can take him almost anywhere with me."

He said they're a perfect pair because they are both calm and quiet.

"For the first three weeks, I didn't even know if he could bark because I'd never heard him," Smith said.

Fortunately, for Smith, Carl found his voice on January 21. He was acting strange all day, restless, pacing and worried.

"Our final walk before bed at 10 o'clock, and he didn't want to go back up again," Smith said.

Smith went to bed, only to wake up to a frantic Carl a few hours later. The dog was barking and running, and no matter how much Smith tried to ignore him, Carl wouldn't leave him alone.

"He was licking me and barking [at] me and I was kind of like, 'Oh, my throat really hurts.' So I grabbed some water off my nightstand and took a drink," Smith said.

That's when he smelled it.

"I woke up and the place was completely full of smoke," Smith said.

He grabbed Carl and ran. Smith later learned there was a fire in his apartment that had been smoldering in the walls all day.

"My smoke alarm and my CO2 alarm is going off. So he got me even before that," Smith said.

Because of Carl, the damage wasn't as bad as it could have been.

When Smith adopted Carl, he knew he was saving the dog; but he never thought Carl would return the favor.

"I tried to do something and give him a better life, and in the process he's given me a better life through being my companion, but also by saving my life," Smith said. "Who knows if I would have woken up."

Smith said this is the best example of why everyone should consider adopting a shelter dog.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.