ALBION, Pa. — A dog that earned acclaim when he saved his family from a house fire last year recently received a national honor from a pet food manufacturer.
Wrangler, a Bassett hound living in Albion, Pennsylvania, a few miles from Conneaut, is one of 10 canines dubbed "Dogs Who Changed the World" by Milk-Bone, according to a company spokesperson.
The company sniffed out dogs "who display valor, courage and kindness," according to the company's website. Winners hail from locales across the country, from California to New Jersey, according to the company.
The accolade is the latest bestowed on Wrangler, said "pet parent" Jennifer Stoneman. The dog merited a mention in People Magazine and has been the subject of other articles and his own Facebook page. In an Albion parade, Wrangler walked with firefighters, clad in a "Hero" T-shirt.
"He's gotten a name for himself," Stoneman said.
Stoneman fully credits Wrangler with saving her life, along with the lives of her husband, Dennis, and daughter Shelby, now 16 years old. About 3 a.m. on Sept. 8, Wrangler became unusually agitated, running through the house, she said.
The dog stirred Dennis, a former firefighter, when he scratched his arm trying to jump on the bed, an action that itself was a red flag, Stoneman said. The bed was strictly off-limits to the 8-year-old hound, she said.
"My husband awoke and heard crackling and popping sounds," Stoneman said.
The noise was coming from an electrical fire that began in the attic of their Route 18 house.
"Dennis scrambled to get his clothes on and said there was a fire in the attic," she said.
The pair awoke their daughter and — aside from minor burns Stoneman suffered — were able to safely evacuate their house, which was heavily damaged in the blaze, Stoneman said. The family hopes to be in their new home by July.
An internet search brought Wranger's heroics to the attention of Milk-Bone, Stoneman said.
Wrangler, a member of the Stoneman family since he was a puppy, generally has taken all the attention in stride, though he sometimes becomes anxious when people begin to fawn over him, Stoneman said.
"I'm not really sure he knows what he did," she said.
His family, however, has no doubt about the magnitude of their dog's deed.
"He saved our lives," Stoneman said matter-of-factly. "We definitely have him to thank. We might not be talking today if it weren't for him."
For his good-dog behavior, Wrangler receives plenty of treats, as well as one special perk, Stoneman said.
"He's allowed on the bed," she said, laughing.