Vancouver puppy inducted into hero's hall of fame
Leo’s loud barks alerted sleeping owner to massive apartment fire
It was New Year's Eve 2016, just after 2:00 a.m. when Brittany Cosgrove was startled out of a deep sleep by the loud, persistent barks of her new puppy Leo, a Biewer Yorkshire Terrier.
Cosgrove followed an unfamiliar light that was coming from the bathroom next to her bedroom.
"There were flames dripping down from the ceiling, and there was a massive black hole in the bottom of the bathroom floor," she said, adding that the building's smoke alarms weren't going off.
"I called 911 ... then I grabbed Leo, grabbed a blanket and headed outside."
The smoke and flames forced 30 people from their units in Vancouver's West End, damaging the entire three floors of the building.
Cosgrove had adopted her new pup just a week before the fire.
"If I hadn't had him, then I don't know where I would be right now — I believe the entire building would've gone and possibly lives." said Cosgrove.
Fast forward five months, and Leo is being honoured by Purina for his bravery that night.
"His keen intuition to recognize the dangerous nature of the fire — new sights, sounds and smells he had never encountered before as a puppy — is what led everyone to safety." said T.S. McGowan, a senior scientist with Purina.
Leo received a Medal of Honour, $5,000 and free dog food for a year.
Cosgrove, who now lives in Ottawa with her hero, was brought to tears upon learning of Leo's award.
"I was just so excited for him. I couldn't even believe it, I was in absolute shock, and that's when the tears just started flowing."
Cosgrove, who lost everything in the fire said she is eternally grateful to Leo and his instincts that night.
"I was pretty traumatized. He's been my therapy dog throughout the whole thing and he's always by my side, he sleeps right close to my heart.
He's a been a huge part of why I'm doing so well today."