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Agility Heroes

Sophie just saved my life...

At 7.15am on 16 March Dave Roberts was awakened by frantic barking. Thinking it was a break in, he got up, smelled smoke and immediately phoned the fire brigade.  He then grabbed his dogs and rushed outside. Thankfully there was only smoke damage but if it hadn't been for his dogs, who knows what would have happened. So a big thank you Sophie and Winston. And thank you to The Lincolnshire Echo which has given us permission to reprint this article on the incident on Agilitynet.


Two pooches who saved their owner from a fire are living proof that dogs really are man's best friends. Dave Roberts (54) was asleep when a fire broke out in the garage below his flat. As the blaze spread, his bedroom began to fill with smoke. It was only when his dogs began to bark that Mr Roberts woke up and realised he was in danger. He was then able to call 999 and prevent the fire from spreading.

Firefighters said the blaze, at Stamp End Service Centre, was caused by a car with an electrical fault and that Mr Roberts had a lucky escape.

Mr Roberts, a DJ and quizmaster, said: 'I got out of bed in my slippers and a T-shirt and went downstairs to have a look. Just as I got to the gate the car exploded with a loud bang. 'I went back to the flat and phoned 999. I have a stammer but believe me I never stammered once when I was calling for help.'

Mr Roberts is a dog agility instructor with the Lincolnshire German Shepherd Dog and All Breeds Training Society. He added: 'My two Staffordshire bull terriers, Sophie and Winston, are absolutely man's best friends and I will be giving them some extra sausages as a reward. 'I really do feel very lucky and it's thanks to the dogs that I was able to get out.'

The fire destroyed a Volvo car that was in for repair, and the garage suffered smoke damage. Meanwhile the skirting board of Mr Roberts' bedroom was badly scorched.

Garage owner Dave Briggs said that the car was brought in for repairs at the end of last week. 'We'd had it in since last Thursday and the bloke said he'd had a lot of problems with the electrics,' he said. 'We didn't want to leave it outside because the windows would probably have got smashed in. 'Strangely enough an auto electrician was due to visit yesterday to fix it. 'We had a total of five cars in the garage and we are lucky the whole lot didn't go up but we are just glad no-one was hurt.'

Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue community fire safety officer Neil Stacey said hot gases and smoke from fires are potentially lethal.  'It's the smoke that kills you and fitting smoke detectors is absolutely paramount,' he said. 'This man has had a lucky escape here.'

Footnote: Since this article was written Sophie (Staffie) has suffered a fit - a Grand mal seizure. She's had the usual blood tests etc. and at the time of writing was still at the vets. Dave would like to know more about epilepsy from any one who's had experience with it - do dogs recover to a normal life with treatment or is that the end of their agility days. Any advice gratefully received. Either email Dave direct or you can share your information and comments with other interested Agilitynet readers.