This Real-Life Lassie Saved A Family With Nine Children From Their Burning Home

“He’s pretty special... I believe it was supposed to happen."

Angela Fullmer, a mother of nine in Des Moines, Iowa, was surprised to wake up at 1:30 a.m. on March 15 by the sound of her family's dog barking. Worried the dog, named Capone, was going to wake up her youngest child, Atreyu, then only three months old, she told him to be quiet and called him to come to her. 

When he didn't, however, she knew something was wrong. Capone always came when called, Fullmer told The Des Moines Register, an affiliate of USA Today, ever since she and her husband Isaac (a trucker who was out of town at the time) rescued the stray dog from a busy highway a year and a half ago.

Instead, Capone just looked at Fullmer and ran back to the kitchen. Though Fullmer was tired after months spent completing her bachelor's degree in health care administration and caring for a newborn, she followed the dog into the kitchen to find out what had upset him. 

Once there, she saw that the plug for the microwave had caught on fire. According to The Register, Fullmer said she'd used it "shortly before going to bed to heat up a snack." 

Though the fire seemed small at first, Fullmer knew the dangers of throwing water on an electric fire. Her main priority was simply making sure her children were safe. After grabbing her two youngest, Atreyu and toddler Mondecai, Fullmer called for her oldest, Landon, 12, to round up everyone else.

All ten family members made it out just in time, as flames began to reach the kitchen ceiling, finally setting off the smoke alarm. Once outside the house, Fullmer called 911 and did a roll call of her children, a common practice for the large family.  From Landon down to Atreyu — Alexander, 10, Jadzia, 9, Ronan, 7, Inara, 6, Mezoti, 5, Khaleesi, 3, and Mondecai, 20 months — were all safe and sound.



As for Capone, the real-life Lassie who saved the day, he also "saved himself" by walking out of the house after the family, Fullmer said. 

Though the Fullmers lost their house and everything in it, they're nonetheless lucky and thankful to have each other. After the fire, the family received donations of clothing and other items while staying in a hotel room before moving into two apartments that could fit them all.

Meanwhile, Capone stayed at a friends' home. When he was finally able to make his heroic return, however, Capone wouldn't leave the Atreyu's side during her "tummy time" on a blanket and slept at Alexander's feet every night.

On May 24, the Fullmer family will move into their new home with a large fenced-in yard — the perfect place to run and play for one deserving canine. "He's pretty special," Fullmer said. "…I'm glad we found him on the highway. I believe it was supposed to happen." 

To honor their fearless, furry friend, the family has also entered Capone into the American Humane Hero Dog Awards. On May 17, the online contest will announce its semifinal winners, followed by a second round of online and celebrity voting. Then, eight winners will take part in a two-hour Hallmark Channel special and compete for a $5,000 prize for charity.

But Capone's already won the biggest prize of all: the unconditional love of nine rugrats. "He loves his family," Fullmer said. And, of course, they love him right back. 

(H/T: USA Today)

Cover image via Joseph Sohm / Shutterstock.

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