A Four-legged Smoke Alarm

October 2015 By Brady L. Kay

It seems some houseboaters will forget their own kids before accidentally leaving behind the beloved family dog when heading out for a day on the water. Similar to the way rodeo riders need their Skoal, boaters need their pets!

This year we’ve made pets more of an emphasis in our magazine because we understand how important they are to us. People love their pets and it’s estimated that more than 60 percent of U.S. households have at least one. A study by the Minnesota Stroke Institute found existing evidence that shows how animals can benefit human health. For example, psychologists have found reason to believe that owning a dog helps lower your blood pressure and your cholesterol. And other research shows that pets help us feel better overall and help us to deal with stress, which can be a source of illness. Even though I personally believe that 26.4 percent of all statistics are made up, it’s hard to argue the popularity of dogs—especially when you take a stroll down a houseboat dock. You’re sure to find at least one furry friend sitting on the top deck watching over the marina or possibly checking out one of his buddies hurrying down the dock as he scouts for dry land.

Not only are dogs great companions, help us live healthier lives and are overall just fun to have around, in one specific case the family dog can actually be credited for saving his owner’s life. If not for her dog, one Kentucky woman might not have been able to escape a houseboat fire back in January. Fire crews quickly responded when her 70-foot houseboat at the Manhattan Harbor in Dayton, Ky., caught fire. Houseboat owner Kathy Schadd credits her dog Buddy for saving her life. Everything she owned was on the boat, but lucky for her, the dog earned his name on that eventful night.

“My dog was patting me with his paw to wake me up,” Schadd told WLWT News 5 following the fire. “He was hitting me in the face with his paw.”

The pair ran from the boat to get help, but by the time they got back, it was fully engulfed.

“It was just huge; it was like an inferno,” Schadd added. “We were sort of backing away because we were afraid it was going to explode.”

Both were able to escape the fire unharmed and investigators believe the fire was caused by something electrical, possibly a space heater. Damage is estimated at $55,000 for the houseboat and another $10,000 for the dock, but in the end being able to walk away safely is what is most important.

As heroic and amazing as this story is, it’s probably not as uncommon as you might think. Dogs have been rescuing owners for years and if you did a little research on your own you would probably find similar tails, ahem, I mean tales. This is why we’re currently looking for the best rescue stories to share with our Houseboat readers. Do you or someone you know have a great pet story that you’d like to share? Drop us a line or post your story on our Facebook page; we’d love to hear all about it. Our pets deserve a little recognition, as long as we don’t let it go to their heads. 

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