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Dog Heroes Save Family’s Lives

Are dogs capable of loving their owners? Ask Sue Feuling and her nine-year-old daughter; their dogs saved their lives when a fire started in their Winona, Minnesota home.

Bella, a three-year-old Golden Retriver/Collie mix was adopted from a shelter; she had been cruelly abused by her former owner. Maddie, a six-month old Golden Retriever, was Bella’s constant companion. Both dogs were devoted to Sue and McKenzie Feuling.

On 11 February, Sue was awakened by Bella, who jumped up on her bed and barked insistenly. Sue immediately smelled smoke and knew her home was on fire. She grabbed McKenzie and rushed out of the burning house, calling to Bella and and Maddie to follow her. Sue believes that Bella thought McKenzie was still in the home and that Bella and Maddie would not leave the house for this reason.

A firefighter who responded to the blaze attempted to save the dogs, but for Bella and Maddie, it was too late; they died of smoke inhalation. Assistant Fire Chief Jim Multhaup told the media, “Those dogs were without a doubt the heroes.” Sue Feuling stated, “Everything I lost is nothing compared to losing them.”

Why did Bella alert Sue that the home was on fire? Why did Bella and Maddie refuse to leave the house, perhaps thinking that McKenzie was still inside? Most dog owners and trainers would account for their heroism and devotion by acknowledging that dogs do have the ability to love their “people.” Two years ago, a dog owner reported that she had suffered a side effect of medication, causing her to lose consciousness. Her dogs, Taz and Adia, barked the alarm and alerted the woman’s husband that something was wrong.

Bella, Maddie, Taz and Adia are not unique; throughout the US the media has reported courageous heroism by family dogs that can only be explained by one thing…..love.

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