Rescue dog saves owner from fire

When Drew Smith first saw Carl, a 4-year-old spaniel mix, at the county of San Diego's animal shelter in Bonita, California, he wasn't sure whether or not the dog would be a good fit for him.

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The 41-year-old engineer almost passed on adopting the rescued dog, mostly because it had dental issues and Drew was worried about the cost of potential dental bills.
But after considering the pros and cons, Smith decided to adopt Carl. The two became family on Oct. 13.
And yet, it seems Carl is the one that rescued Smith.

On Jan. 22, Smith awoke to Carl frantically barking and licking his face.
Smith initially tried to go back to sleep, but when Carl was persistent, he thought maybe the dog needed to be let out to relieve himself.

"He's not a dog that barks a lot, so barking for him is kind of uncharacteristic," Smith told ABC News.

It wasn't until Smith turned on the lights that he knew what was worrying Carl. Smoke had filled his San Diego apartment.

Smith had never smelled it and was able to get out of the apartment without sustaining any injuries.

When the Fire Department officials reported back to Smith, they told him a fire had smoldering in the walls for days. Though they were unable to identify the cause of the fire, their explanation of the smoldering smoke explained why Smith had had headaches and a sore throat that week. It also explained why Carl had been acting funny the day before; Smith's dog walker told him that Carl had been agitated and apprehensive and hadn't wanted to go back inside the apartment after a walk. Smith had seen the same behavior when he took Carl for a walk that same night.

It's unclear how big the flames would have gotten if Carl hadn't alerted his owner when he did.

“I’m glad that I saw through what physical flaws he may have had.” Smith said. “He’s very happy, he’s very cool, he’s really affectionate to other people, including myself, and to other dogs and he doesn’t seem like he has a mean bone in his whole body. He seems like a really sweet, really just awesome dog.”

Carl was picked up as a stray by animal services at the beginning of October. He had no identification tags and no one came forward to claim him. Smith adopted him less than two weeks later.

"We always say that adopting an animal from a shelter will change the owner's life as well, obviously, as the life of that animal," Dan DeSousa, the deputy director of the county's Department of Animal Services told ABC. "It's rare that we get to see an adopted animal actually save the life of its owner."

Drew Smith nearly passed on adopting Carl, the little rescue dog who ended up saving his life.

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