Puppy alerts owner to grill fire in Charlotte County

Reporter: Gail Levy Writer: Drew Hill
Published: Updated:

A house suffered damage but thankfully is still standing all thanks to a puppy. Charlotte County firefighters are now calling Skipper a hero.

The little guy was able to alert his owner of a grill fire just in time. But who did he know something was wrong?

Well, you could call it puppy’s intuition. His mom, Evonne Pugh, thought he was just up pacing and making odd noises because she had family staying at the house. But when Skipper wouldn’t settle down, she peeked outside and saw the growing flames from outside of her bedroom window.

Evonne Pugh looks at her charred wall, warped ceiling fan, and blackened eaves. They all serve as a reminder of how precious life is.


“Just a matter of maybe two more minutes and the fire would have been in the rafters and in the attic, and he said once that happens, it’s hard to save a house,” Pugh said.

Skipper made sure this story had a happy ending. The golden retriever puppy wouldn’t let Pugh sleep.

On Feb. 10, at about 2:30 a.m., Skipper smelled smoke and woke Pugh up. She had used her grill earlier in the day and believes that one ember was still lit.

“I got up, and I just pulled the blinds open a little, and I just saw my whole grill area just shooting up in flames,” said Pugh.

She quickly got the rest of her family out of the house and called the firefighters. “Had Skipper had not, you know, alerted me, I don’t know when I would’ve known,” Pugh said.

“He is a hero, and we all feel pretty fortunate that he was here,” she said.

Another twist of fate is what brought Skipper and Pugh together in the first place. When Evonne lost her last dog, she vowed that’s he couldn’t go through that pain again. But, her sister and brother-in-law brought her to an auction where Skipper was the grand prize.

“There was Skipper in Lily, his foster mom’s, arms with his little paws like that, and I absolutely just fell in love,” said Pugh.

And that love was meant to be, clearly. “To think about it, if I lost my home and my life, I mean the money that was paid for him was just pennies, so to speak,” Pugh said.

The money that Pugh spent on Skipper was a donation to the YMCA. And she brought him home in November of 2021. At the end of the week, he’ll turn seven months old. At such a young age, he’s sure to be on the good boy list for the rest of his life.

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