17.04.13

The RSPCA is recognising the bravery and persistence of a terrier who saved the life of her elderly owner when she did not realise her bed was on fire.

Rosemary Field and Barbie the Jack Russell © RSPCA Barbie is a seven-year-old Jack Russell Terrier who lives with her owner 72-year-old Rosemary Field in Bristol.

In the early hours of Friday 1 March, Mrs Field was asleep and unaware that a lit bedside lamp had fallen onto her bed. The hot bulb burned a hole through a quilt, two fleece blankets, a sheet, and another under-blanket before setting fire to her mattress.

Barbie, who was sleeping in the bedroom, woke up sensing danger and licked Mrs Field’s face to wake her up.

Unfortunately, Mrs Field only woke briefly to tell Barbie to go away and settle down. So Barbie tried again and this time Mrs Field woke up and noticed the fire.

She threw a jug of water over the flames and went to the bathroom to get more water. This was difficult for her because she is partially sighted and she eventually realised she ought to ring the fire brigade and ask them if they could check that the fire was out.

Two fire crews attended and one of the fire fighters told Mrs Field that if Barbie had not alerted her to the fire, they would probably be dealing with a fatality. They said Barbie had undoubtedly saved her life with her persistence.

RSPCA Bristol and District branch manager Eddie Grinham said:

“I was touched by how alert Barbie was to the danger her owner was in.

“It is an incredible story of the strong bond between a dog and its owner – sensing danger this little dog did not run away but overcame her own fear to persist in trying to get her owner to come with her.

“I believe Barbie should be awarded for her actions.”

The RSPCA will be presenting Barbie and her owner with an award at a later date.