Not all heroes wear capes – some have glossy fur and a wet nose.
Meet Pickle, the cockapoo who saved his owner’s life. She alerted owner Kirsten Carmichael, 36, to a fire in the middle of the night – and guided her through their York flat to safety.
Now she’s in the final four in the Hero Pets category in global-hearing specialist Amplifon’s search for the ‘Best of British’ heroes.
Kirsten had fallen asleep in bed before being awakened by Pickle who was repeatedly licking and nudging her. As Kirsten woke, she realised her pet was demonstrating the sign for danger, so got out of bed to find out more.
She said: “I checked each room and couldn’t see anything to worry about, but Pickle directed me towards the door. I looked through the peep hole and noticed smoke billowing out of my neighbour’s property.
“I initially panicked as smoke had started to also come into our home, but Pickle has a way of keeping me calm. I woke my partner and now husband Matt, and we rang the fire brigade and were able to safely leave our home – as did our neighbours.”
By the time Kirsten and Matt were able to leave the property, it was full of toxic smoke and had Pickle not woken them, they would have likely fallen unconscious, and may have died.
Kirsten, who now lives in Selby, suffers from Ménière’s disease and completely lost her hearing in both ears in 2016. She adopted trained hearing dog Pickle two years later and describes her as her ‘soul mate and guardian angel’.
Soon after the fire, Kirsten and Matt tied the knot and heroic Pickle attended as ring bearer. Now, she’s set to become a big sister as Kirsten is pregnant and will give birth later this year.
Kirsten said: “I’ve faced a lot of rejection because of my disability but because of Pickle, my outlook on life is much more positive.
“Having her by my side means I’m never scared of being alone and she’s always there for me when I need her. Without her, we wouldn’t be here, we wouldn’t have got married and we wouldn’t be looking forward to this next chapter in our lives.
“She is my hero.”
Pickle and Kirsten will now be invited to the virtual awards presentation on Tuesday, October 5. The event will be hosted by BBC1 TV Breakfast and Radio 5 Live presenter Rachel Burden and Falklands War hero Simon Weston will be guest of honour.