A Hoke County sheriff's dog barked furiously at a fire Monday night to alert his owner and save the deputy's family.
Cash, a K-9 who works with K-9 Officer William Patterson, began barking loudly to awaken Patterson when a fire started inside the home.
Because Cash woke him up, Patterson was able to escape the home along with his fiancé, Stephanie Vincent, and three of their five children. Their other two children where not in the home at the time of the fire.
This dog, he's a lifesaver to me. That's what he is,” Patterson said. “If it wasn't for him, I don't know what would've happened. I mean, people in the house, those kids — I mean, you don't know.
The house and everything in it was lost.
“There's nothing you can save,” Patterson said. “You think there's little odds and ends, but you can't.”
Hoke County Sheriff Hubert Peterkin said Cash will be commended for his action in saving Patterson and his family.
“He insisted on them getting up and he didn't back off until they did. So, this dog saved some lives and he's to be commended,” Peterkin said.
Cash is 4-1/2 years old and has been with the Hoke county Sheriff's Office for 3-1/2 years. He is trained in narcotics, and search and rescue — but not fires or explosives.
He was more scared, I think, than I was. He acts a little different, but he's still the same dog,” Patterson said.
Patterson credits their bond for Cash's protective instincts kicking in when the family was in danger.
“You get so much attached to these dogs, like they're your own,” Patterson said. “What it is, you grow this bond with them. They're like my best friend. We're constantly with each other 24/7.”
The family's other two dogs did not make a sound during the fire. One of them ran out and a firefighter rescued the other hiding in a corner.
People who want to make a contribution to help the family can call the Hoke County Sheriff's Office at (910) 875-5111.
“We're not being bashful about asking the community to help these five kids, because the ages are very young. They lost everything,” Peterkin said.
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