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Brave Berner Honored

There's nothing better than a hero dog story, and this girl is definitely a hero. Kenai, a 14-year-old Bernese mix, saved nine people and four...

Horst Hoefinger  |  Mar 12th 2009


There’s nothing better than a hero dog story, and this girl is definitely a hero. Kenai, a 14-year-old Bernese mix, saved nine people and four dogs from carbon monoxide poisoning.

It all happened when her owners were on a weekend getaway visiting friends in New Castle, CO.

Michelle and I were sleeping in the bedroom of the basement and Kenai was sleeping in the common area on the same floor, said Todd. I heard her whimpering through the door. I’m pretty tuned to her sounds so I knew something was up. Karen (the couple’s friend) and Michelle ended up passing out in the basement and I ran upstairs to wake the others. I don’t want to think what would have happened without her (Kenai).

After the initial confusion of the situation, the group quickly got online to research some of the symptoms and discovered they were synonymous with carbon monoxide poisoning. By 5:30 a.m., they were at the hospital seeking help and had called the fire department to investigate.

Investigators said the source of the carbon monoxide was the kitchen stove, a normal range top, according to Todd. The group had used the stove Saturday night to make pizza but nothing was out of the ordinary.

The mountain getaway home didn’t have any detectors, Kenai was their lifesaver. Because of her heroic actions she received the Golden Paw Award, from the American Humane Association. The AHA is a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting children and animals.

We have a hero among us today, said AHA’s chief operating officer Dick Austin. This award celebrates the importance of the connection between animals and humans, and we give it during the times that an animal does extraordinary things.

What a great story, Kenai’s family has a lot to be grateful for.

* Photo Todd Smarr/Special To The Denver Post