A family dog is being hailed as a hero after he helped save a grandmother from a house fire near Vonda Christmas Eve.
Santana Hawman, along with her husband Mitch, three kids and nephew went to a friend’s for Christmas dinner. Her mother-in-law, Noreen Lucas had pneumonia and decided to stay home at the acreage outside of town.
Just before 9:45 p.m, Lucas was asleep on the couch when the fire started. Rex the dog began barking and the Malamute-German Shepherd cross prodded her with his nose.
Unaware of the danger, Lucas dismissed the dog, but Rex didn’t give up.
“He started mouthing on her and pulling her shoulder. He grabbed her leg and tore her pajama pants and finally got her to get up,” Hawman said.
Lucas then saw half the house was in flames. Of the family’s several pets, she managed to grab a cat and another dog before fleeing to safety.
“If Rex wasn’t home, there’s a very strong possibility that my mother-in-law wouldn’t have made it out,” Hawman said. “We’ve had this boy for just over eight years. He’s an SPCA rescue and I never would have expected less from him.”
Hawman and the family were driving home when Lucas called them and told them to call 911. Aberdeen fire department got the call and were on scene just after 10 p.m, but it was too late for the home.
Two rabbits and a hamster perished in the fire, and Hawman said the loss of sentimental items has been hard on the family.
“We were at our friend’s house for supper last night and all their kid’s artwork was on the fridge and that’s stuff I can’t get back,” she said, fighting back tears.
But, she said donations from the community have helped ease the burden of starting over. Within hours, friends had arrived from surrounding communities to help.
The Aberdeen Christmas Miracles group rallied donations, and friends gave the Hawman’s a home to live in while they wait to rebuild.
“It definitely sucks… but for as terrible and tragedy it is, it’s something we can still come back from,” Hawman said, adding she is more concerned about the other families who lost their homes to fires on Christmas in Saskatchewan.
Hawman said she’d like it if any extra donations they have could go towards helping those families.