Destructive dog does good saving owner

Posted: Sunday, January 23, 2005

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — In the three years since Mark Anderson answered a newspaper advertisement for a free puppy that needed a good home, the female black Labrador has chewed through a couch, a window sill, two cell phones and two carpets.

"So she's cost me about a grand," Anderson said as he stroked Midnight, who answers to Middy. "She's a goat. She'll eat anything."

That damage seems paltry now that the dog has saved him from a house fire.

"He would have been dead if it hadn't been for his dog, absolutely," city fire Capt. Mike Zambryski said.

Anderson, 39, said he fell asleep on his couch watching David Letterman on television and was awakened by Middy's barking about 8 a.m. the next morning.

"I couldn't breathe. I couldn't see 2 feet in front of me. I realized I was in the middle of a fire," he said. "I was going to sleep right through it."

Choking on smoke, Anderson managed to head for a spot of light that turned out to be a window, opened it, pushed out the screen and jumped outside — followed by Middy.

Most of the house was destroyed.

"I'm so lucky to be alive. It's just starting to hit me," Anderson said. "Thank God I didn't put her out this morning."

Fire Battalion Chief Bob Green said the flames were ignited in curtains next to a baseboard heater.

Anderson said he had a smoke detector, but it was unclear whether it was working.

"Obviously, the smoke detector didn't wake him up," Zambryski said.

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