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Sad, heroic story from Spokane

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Saturday, December 22, 2007



Fire claims heroic dog

Pullman family alive, well thanks to pet's warning

Meghann M. Cuniff

Staff writer

December 22, 2007


If all dogs really do go to heaven, this pooch might have a special place.


A 6-year-old border collie named Sandler died in a Pullman house fire Friday morning after waking up his owner to warn her of the blaze.


Marilyn Harvey awoke her 26-year-old son, Brent, and the two rushed with Sandler out a basement door. But the dog turned back. The family's 17-year-old Australian shepherd, Lewis, was still inside. Marilyn's husband, John, said he believes Sandler was trying to save Lewis, too.



The dogs' bodies were discovered in adjacent rooms, fire investigator Richard Dragoo said.


John Harvey, who was in Seattle for the Cougars men's basketball game at the time of the fire, said his wife and son didn't hear smoke alarms.


Sandler "went up and jumped on the bed," Harvey said. "He woke her up in the middle of a dead sleep."


Harvey said his wife is grateful but surprised by the rescue. "She felt sometimes that he didn't like her," said Harvey, owner of the Denny's restaurant in Pullman. "He was my dog."


Sandler was named after comedian Adam Sandler, Harvey said.


A bird named Kellogg also perished in the fire, which was reported about 6:10 a.m. and extinguished by 8:20 a.m. Investigators believe a candle left burning in the family room of the two-story house was the cause. A cat named Raja escaped unharmed.


The Harveys have homeowner's insurance and are staying at a Pullman hotel. The house was destroyed but the family plans to rebuild on the same site. The only salvageable items were found in the garage and under the Christmas tree, Harvey said.


Harvey said his family will always be grateful to Sandler.


"We're a little devastated now, but I think tomorrow will be better," he said. "It makes the holidays a little bit more valuable."

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