Belfast Telegraph

Dog who saved Christmas

By Anne Madden

They say a dog is for life, not just for Christmas. But for for one Co Antrim family, their dog saved their lives this Christmas.



Buster, the family pet, averted a Christmas tragedy by alerting his sleeping owner to a fire in their Lisburn house last week.

Caroline Wilson (19) was taking a nap with her two-year-old son in their Lissue Road bungalow when the cross-Rottweiler desperately tried to wake her up.

The young mum had been trying to get her son Lucas to sleep around 7pm and eventually put him in the bed beside her.

She had drifted off to sleep when it is believed some coal from the fire in the living room fell on to the carpet and caught fire.

There was a working smoke alarm but the battery needed replaced, so the alarm was quieter than usual.

“I was in a really deep sleep when Buster came into the room and started to lick me,” she said. “He pulled my hair and barked he did everything he could to get me |up.”

The exhausted young mum pushed the dog away thinking he was just being playful.

“He then started howling, sat on me and eventually began pulling me out of the bed,” she said.

“I was still half asleep when I got up. When I opened my eyes the room was full of black smoke.

“I ran into the hallway but I couldn’t see anything, the smoke was so thick. I started to panic and forgot at first where Lucas was, but Buster was at the bed pulling the quilt off him.”

Caroline then rushed back into the bedroom where she found Lucas saying “doggy, doggy”.

All three then escaped the smoke-filled house and Caroline called the fire brigade when she got outside.

Caroline’s partner Mark returned home to find the house on fire.

“He was in shock,” she said. “He had lit the fire in the grate before he’d gone out. I wasn’t even aware it was lit when I fell asleep.”

Caroline and the toddler were checked out at Craigavon Area Hospital the next day and given a clean bill of health.

“We were very lucky,” she said. “Lucas is so small his lungs would not have coped with the smoke.”

Mark Smyth, the assistant group commander for the Fire Service, praised the swift actions of the dog.

He appealed for people to be careful over Christmas, especially with the prevalence of additional fire hazards such as fairy lights and candles.

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