TRAIL, BRITISH COLUMBIA
Jango, the Unger family dog, normally splits her time between greeting customers at the family pet grooming business, and working as a therapy dog visiting the elderly in Trail, BC. But in the early hours of January 22, 2006, this brave Golden Retriever also took on the role of family saviour. Darrell’s wife Christine was out for the evening, and so Darrell tucked four-year-old Koby into bed and settled down to relax in front of the television.
Darrell was awakened from a deep sleep on the couch at around 12:30 a.m. to ten year-old Jango’s incessant barking. This was completely out of character, so Darrell immediately knew something was seriously wrong. Within seconds Darrell realized the house was filled with dark smoke, and ran as fast as he could to get the phone and his son’s room, yelling for Koby to wake up. When he made it into the bedroom, he realized Koby was unconscious and Darrell himself was starting to fade.
Darrell got Koby out of his bunk bed and carried him outside, all with the sound and encouragement of Jango’s constant barking directing Darrell, with Koby in arms, to safety. As Darrell and Koby burst outside, Constable Derek Gallon happened to be driving by and radioed for the fire department. The officer’s own life was put in danger when he collapsed 30 feet into the house, attempting to bring back Darrell, who made a second trip into the blaze to rescue the family’s two kittens. Thankfully the kittens were rescued by the fire department, and Darrell, Koby and Constable Gallon treated for smoke inhalation. Everyone has since recovered physically from the incident and are all doing well.
The Unger family lost virtually everything in the devastating fire; but they feel they owe the fact that they didn’t lose their family to the good senses of Jango, for which they will be forever grateful.
Darrell and Christine own the Pet Needs Plus Grooming and Specialty Pet Supplies store in Trail, and Jango, affectionately called ‘Baby Love’ by an ever-doting Koby, is the friendly greeter at the front of the store. She is well-known and well-loved in the community.
Proudly displayed on the wall of Darrell and Christine’s store is a picture of Jango with the word “hero” written on it. But to the family she is more than a hero, she is their guardian angel.