A service dog is being hailed a hero after she jumped into action and saved her blind owner’s life by alerting authorities to a house fire in Philadelphia Thursday morning.
The fire started inside Maria Colon's home on the 4300 block of Oakmont Street in the city’s Holmesburg section. The woman was asleep at the time, but awoke at the smell of smoke.
"I said, 'Oh my God, It's smoke. And I can't breathe,'" Colon, a Puerto Rico-native who lost her eyesight in 1992, told NBC10's George Spencer Friday.
She shouted the word "danger" to her service dog, a golden Labrador named Yolanda, prompting the dog to dial 911 on a specialized phone. Yolanda had been trained to step in and call for help when Colon used the emergency word.
"I hear the phone — tke, tke, tke. And she's growling. And I said, 'Oh my lord, she called the police,'" Colon recalled.
Firefighters responded to the scene and controlled the blaze. Colon was taken to Nazareth Hospital and treated for smoke inhalation. Yolanda went to Penn Ryan Veterinary Hospital for a scratched eye and smoke inhalation. The two were reunited Friday night.
"I'm her Mommy, and she loves me too much," she said.
It wasn’t the first time Yolanda saved her owner’s life. Jen Leary, the founder of the Red Paw Emergency Relief Team, told NBC10 Yolanda also called 911 last year when her owner fell down inside her home and lost consciousness.
Yolanda and her owner were both displaced by the blaze and are being assisted by Red Paw Emergency Relief Team and the American Red Cross.