MILTON, NOVA SCOTIA
Just over two years ago, Chris Larocque gave his wife a spunky, rambunctious Bernese Mountain Dog puppy to thank her for nursing him back to health following a serious automobile accident. At the time, Chris thought he was simply giving Andrea the puppy she’d always wanted. Little did he know that this warm-hearted gesture would ultimately save his life.
Unfortunately, several of Chris’ injuries from the accident are permanent: the entire left side of his body experienced severe trauma, leaving him with chronic pain. He also relies on a cane to walk and often experiences unexpected shooting pains. Because of his injuries Chris has fallen several times since the accident and for this reason he always carries a cell phone in his pocket. At noon on November 13th, 2012, Chris was making lunch at home using the oven. His children, Jessica and Zachary, were at school and his wife was at work.
With a tea towel in his hand, Chris opened the oven door to check on his food’s progress and suddenly, felt a pain shoot from his left foot up to his head, making him fall. As he collapsed he hit his head on the stove and the tea towel grazed the element inside the oven catching fire. Chris lay on the ground, dazed, tea towel in hand, as the fire quickly moved up his sweater. Instinctively, he threw the towel to the side, pulled the sweater off his body and tossed it. Unfortunately the wall quickly ignited and the fire spread towards the kitchen cupboards, causing an electrical socket to explode. Luckily, Chris’ cell phone was in his pocket. He called 911.
Chris explained what was happening to the dispatcher, and was told to vacate the house immediately. It was at this point that Chris realized his fall had immobilized him and he couldn’t pull himself up on his own. The smoke detector was deafening and with nowhere else to turn, Chris called Bella to the kitchen. Upon her arrival, Chris grasped Bella’s collar and said “Bella, get me out of here!” Bella started pulling, but then stopped – obviously confused by what was going on. Chris once again commanded, “Bella, get me out of here!” and she did: dragging him out the door and onto the neighbours lawn.
Once outside, Bella took off running and Chris attempted to stand up, worried that Bella might get hit by an emergency vehicle, but he fell again. Bella immediately returned to his side, keeping him company until emergency personnel arrived on the scene. Chris was rushed to hospital, and fire fighters worked to tame the flames that continued to devour the interior of the Larocque family home.
The house burned without Chris in it thanks to Bella. Without her help, there is no doubt in Chris’ mind – or his family’s – that he would have remained inside. Her heroic actions that day ensured that Andrea still has a husband, and Jessica and Zachary still have their father.