Monday, October 27, 2008

And today I cried again...

I just couldn't help it. How could you not get all lumpy in the throat, reading this? Check this raw footage.

Lion-hearted Leo has courage licked

Article from:
Herald Sun Kelly Ryan

October 27, 2008 12:00am

A TENACIOUS terrier dubbed Leo the Lion-hearted is being lauded for staying loyally by the side of four helpless kittens trapped in a burning house.

The gutsy bitzer had to be resuscitated by firefighters after refusing to abandon the kittens even as thick smoke and flames filled a Seddon weatherboard home on Saturday night.

Firemen had to dodge fallen power lines to enter the blazing building in Pilgrim St after three children rescued from the blaze screamed for their pets to be saved.

"One officer returned into the blazing house and re-emerged carrying the near-lifeless Leo," said MFB western zone commander Ken Brown.

"Another couple of firefighters grabbed the resuscitation equipment and . . . were able to revive him.

"The dog had remained stoically guarding the box of kittens, even though their mother had disappeared."

A family of seven escaped with their lives but have lost everything they owned in the suspicious blaze. Their home was not insured.

Mum Janine Kelly was with children Paul, 18, Tayla, 11, and Jayme, 5, when a stranger ran to the back of her home, yelling at them to get out because the front of the house was engulfed in flames.

Neighbour Rob Easterbrook, 43, tried to douse the flames but rubbish stacked on the veranda of the double-fronted home ignited.

"I panicked initially, because I was worried the kids could have been trapped inside," he said.

"But then they assured me they were all out."

The Sunshine hospital chef said three of the five children were screaming for their menagerie of pets to be saved.

Tayla said she carried Jayme out and then rescued another pet dog, Barney, who was fleeing the fire.

"But Leo was still inside standing over the kittens, and we were scared he would get burned," she said. "We couldn't find Sabrina (mother of the kittens) and we thought they would all die."

The children sobbed with relief when firefighters rescued and revived 11-month-old Leo.

"Then we were told there was a box of kittens still in there, and firefighters returned to grab them too," Cdr Brown said.

He said Leo licked the kittens with joy when he saw them. "It was a wonderful sight," he said.

The kittens were unharmed because a cover on their box stopped them suffering smoke inhalation.

Tayla was taken to the Royal Children's Hospital with smoke inhalation and released yesterday.

The shocked family then returned to their gutted home to try to salvage what little was not smoke or fire-damaged.

They found Leo sitting on a burnt mattress out front, faithfully waiting for his family to return.

Last night they were looking for a place to stay and supplies.

Cdr Brown said firefighters would nominate Leo for an RSPCA bravery medal.

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