Emergency dispatcher Jim Leonard of Seneca Falls, NY has received five life-saving
awards for meritorious performance, such as assisting a 13-year-old with the delivery
of her mother's baby and then having to talk her through emergency rescue breathing
for the infant. He does not consider himself a hero. The true hero in Jim's life
is Zoey, his 7-month-old 100-pound Rottweiler puppy.
After working a second shift at the Seneca County Sheriff's Department, Jim decided
to lay down for a nap. Soon after he fell asleep, he was awakened by Zoey licking
his face. He knew that he had taken his dog out earlier, so he tried to convince
her to lie down. She continued to lick his face prompting Jim to take her outside.
Jim started outside through the kitchen door with Zoey, but she refused to budge,
opting instead to lie across the kitchen doorway. With treats and a lot of coaxing,
he finally lured Zoey outside, but when she had not relieved herself after several
minutes, they headed back inside.
When Jim entered his home, he was immediately overcome by a smell which turned out
to be methane gas. The gas had seeped in from a septic tank through a faulty trap
in the bathtub. He could not smell the extremely flammable gas while he was sleeping,
but Zoey woke up her pal long before the situation turned deadly.
"She's my hero", says Jim who credits his life to Zoey's "superhuman atmospheric-contaminant-detection
system" (her nose). She knew the house was not supposed to smell like that and he
was glad that she took steps to get him out.