Drew Smith was in the market for a furry friend. He’d decided to browse the available dogs at an animal shelter in San Diego.
He noticed a small, goldenish-colored pup that caught his eye. The spaniel mix was cute, but he had some medical issues that could prove to break the bank if Smith went ahead with the adoption.
Smith opted to leave the shelter empty-handed and mull over his decision for a few days before deciding whether or not to bring the dog into his life.
If you’ve ever strolled the halls of a crowded shelter, you know how difficult it is to leave without rescuing some poor, shivering, love-starved creature.
And in similar form, on Oct. 13, Smith decided to go back and pick up the spaniel mix, which he named Carl.
At the time, he was concerned about the dog’s dental issues and how much proper treatment would cost, but he had no idea how much more costly a decision against adopting Carl would have been.
Carl was well-behaved. He would wake Smith up by licking his face, but he generally was quiet and calm. He never barked.
A few months after his adoption, the dog walker commented that Carl was acting odd after being taken out.
For some reason, Carl resisted being brought back inside. He seemed to shy away from the apartment.
On the evening of Jan. 21, Smith took Carl for a walk. He, too, noticed the dog behaving strangely but went about his normal routine.
The normally silent Carl woke him at 1 a.m., licking his face and barking. Smith thought that was uncharacteristic, but was more interested in getting a drink of water since his throat was bothering him.
“I poured myself a glass of water and then finally turned on the light and the whole house was covered in smoke,” Smith later said.
Apparently, a fire had been smoldering away within the walls for up to a few days. The cause of the fire has still not been determined.
But if Carl had not acted, Smith could have died. The little golden mixed-breed with the horrible teeth had rescued his rescuer.
“We always say that adopting an animal from a shelter will change the owner’s life as well, obviously, as the life of that animal,” Dan DeSousa with the Department of Animal Services said.
“It’s rare that we get to see an adopted animal actually save the life of its owner.”
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