EVERYDAY HERO - Jesaran’s Professor Marvel – “Sikasso”

Owner: Catherine Fagan

Sikasso had just turned one year old. Though this red and rust Doberman often acted the part of the goofy puppy and still had lots to learn about life, sound upbringing and training made his overall conduct quite respectable. So why was he uttering a slow, repetitive, very insistent *woof!* in the wee hours of the morning? His owners weren't sure and tried to get him to be quiet. When they could not, *mom* got up and let him out, thinking that's what he might need, then went back to bed.

But again, Sikasso woke them with the same unusual but persistent, assertive *woof!* He would not let them sleep. This time *dad* got up. As he passed the front door, he thought the outside lights were on and went to turn them off. When they would not go off, he looked outside to see flames shooting from the roof of their house. The entire attic was on fire. There was just enough time to get all family members, both human and animal, out of the house to safety.

The smoke alarms didn't sound because the fire was still contained to the attic, above all the alarms. The fire chief said that without Sikasso's persistent alert, the fire would have swept through the attic and fallen on the rest of the house. Had they been sleeping rather than awakened and alerted to the danger, the outcome might have been a tragic one. According to the fire department, Sikasso not only saved lives, he prevented even more damage to the house and its contents while, quite possibly, keeping the fire from spreading to his owners' and their neighbors' wooded lots. The firefighters were so impressed with Sikasso they couldn't stop talking about what he had done. One after another they said, *Bet that dog gets a steak tonight!*

Little did his owners know that less than a year after his arrival, Sikasso- Jesaran's Professor Marvel- would demonstrate the wits, dedication and determination to detect danger and insistently alert them to it. This *Marvel-ous*, vigilant, faithful, intelligent and devoted Doberman Pinscher literally saved the lives of all in his family, including the two cats!

The New River Valley Kennel Club presented Sikasso with their first Canine Hero Award, and he has been nominated for several other similar awards. The one irony in this otherwise wonderful story is to be found in the fact that, as his owners subsequently sought temporary housing and new homeowner's insurance, they were repeatedly denied and turned away. The reason? They own a Doberman! This gentle, loving, trustworthy dog saved human and other lives AND saved an insurance company tens of thousands of dollars. There is no more classic example of why BSL, or Breed Specific Legislation, and policies discriminating against certain dog breeds, are unfounded, unfair and unwise!

Sikasso won another award for saving his family's lives from the house fire. The Virginia Academy of Small Animal Medicine selected him as the winner of the 5th Annual Virginia Animal Hall of Fame *Hero Award*!

You can click on a Service Award category below to read the winner's story:

Search & Rescue Therapy Dogs Assistance/Service Dogs Everyday Hero Public Safety/Service Accomplishment by a Rescue Doberman