As the smoke began to fill Maria Colon’s home, her golden Labrador service dog, Yolanda, took action by calling 9-11 and saving her blind owner.
The fire broke out in Colon’s home in Philadelphia as Colon was sleeping. Colon awoke and said the dog’s trigger word “danger” to prompt her to call authorities.
“I said ‘oh my god.’ It’s the smoke and I can’t breathe,'” said Colon in an interview with NBC10.
Colon has been visually impaired since 1992, and has relied on Yolanda to call the ambulance before, using a specialized phone after she was knocked unconscious.
“Last year Yolanda’s owner fell in the house and was unconscious, she called 9-11 then too! Yolanda is a superhero,” said the Red Paw Emergency Relief Team.
RPERT, which specializes in relief and recovery for displaced pets and their people, helped treat Yolanda and gathered food, treats, and supplies for the dog and her owner.
There have been numerous accounts of heroic dogs rescuing people from disasters. One of the most notable rescue dogs is Trakr, who dug through 30 feet of debris at the World Trade Center to find the last human survivor after the attack.
Dogs such as Trakr and Yolanda join the many furry friends that put their owners’ lives before their own.
Firefighters responded to the car and controlled the flames, and Colon and Yolanda were transported for medical attention. Both were treated for smoke inhalation and Yolanda was taken to Penn Ryan Veterinary Hospital for a scratched eye, but was reunited with Colon the following day.
“Yolanda is proof dogs are heroes too. Thank you to her for her service and also to Red Paw,” said Karen Care Lewandowski on the Red Paw Facebook page.
With dauntless dogs such as Yolanda in the world, people are reminded how some heroes come in unlikely, furry packages.