"Hartland — Nicole Siekert felt tired and so did her 5 1/2-year-old twin daughters, but she figured it was the flu or a cold.
"Her Australian border collie Abby knew differently.
"The Siekert house was cold the morning of Feb. 11 and after Brian
Siekert left for work, Nicole plugged in a space heater because they had
been having trouble with their furnace. When Bella and Grace got up,
they weren't bouncing around like normal. She checked for fevers but
they were normal.
"'They both said they were tired but they wanted to go to school,'
recalled Nicole Siekert, who walked them out to the school bus at 8:30
a.m. 'I almost kept them home. I'm so glad I didn't.'
"She didn't know the furnace intake was blocked. She didn't know
dangerously high levels of carbon monoxide were building up inside her
home. She couldn't see or smell the gas. But one member of the household
knew something was very wrong.
"Feeling lethargic and foggy, Siekert decided to lie down after her
daughters left for school. Abby couldn't tell her owner the carbon
monoxide detector was sounding in the basement, but the smart canine
knew what to do. The 9-year-old dog continually stuck her
black-going-gray muzzle underneath Nicole's chin as she closed her eyes
and tried to drift off.
"Finally, Siekert got up and, thinking Abby wanted to go outside for a
potty break, walked to the door. Instead, Abby padded downstairs to the
basement and sat right next to the carbon monoxide detector.
"'It was a loud noise but because I was so out of it, it didn't sound
loud to me,' Siekert said in an interview at her kitchen table. 'That's
when I got it. I was like, "Oh, thank you, Abby. I love you."'
"She called her husband at his job at J.M. Brennan in Milwaukee. She
opened windows and doors, shut off the furnace and then went outside to
sit in her vehicle for warmth and call her daughters' school and doctor.
"The family was treated for carbon monoxide poisoning at Waukesha
Memorial Hospital, where blood tests showed Nicole had very high levels
and the girls had lower levels. Abby's veterinarian told Nicole to check
the dog for pale gums, labored breathing and fatigue, but Abby showed
no signs of carbon monoxide poisoning.
"The Siekerts adopted Abby when she was 8 months old from an animal rescue shelter in Illinois.
"'We rescued her, but she rescued me,' Nicole Siekert said."
Read more: http://www.jsonline.com/news/waukesha/hartland-dog-honored-for-heroism-b99693996z1-373517101.html