Doug Claypool of Forsyth, IL decided to retire to his room for the evening. He grabbed a book and followed by his German Shepherd Sarge, headed to his bedroom, and closed the door. Soon, he fell asleep, but Sarge began to bark around midnight while standing at the bedroom door. When Claypool opened the door, Sarge ran down the hallway sniffing the air and ran directly to Claypool's 15-year-old daughter's room.
As Sarge growled and pawed at the door, Claypool tried to open the door but discovered that someone inside the room was holding it closed. The concerned dad ran to another room and retrieved his handgun. Together, he and Sarge forced the door open and ordered the intruder to get on the floor, holding the intruder until the police arrived.
Because of his quick actions, Sarge was selected as the first-runner up in the "Dogs of Valor" Awards sponsored by the National Humane Society of the United States.
Although Claypool's daughter had remained asleep when the man was in her room, it was a very scary situation. "In this story in particular, I think the scariest thing about it is what could have happened," said Colin Berry, the National Humane Society's Director of Innovation. "We'll never know, and thank goodness we won't, but it really kind of sends the chills down your back if you think about it."
Claypool says he was surprised at Sarge's nomination when he learned that some of the other nominees lost their lives while trying to protect their owners. "You don't really feel worthy," Claypool said. "He was just doing his thing. We still have our dog at the end of the day."
Sarge received prizes that included medals and cash credit towards Humane Society merchandise. The Claypool family also compensated their beloved family pet for his brave work. "Anything we ate, basically, we ordered him one for probably a week after that," Claypool said. "It's hard not to, when you think what maybe he did, what he might have saved you from having to deal with."