Rex, a loyal and protective Alaskan Malamute German Shephard cross, joined the Hawman family as a puppy when he was just eight-months old. Mitch and his wife Santana rescued him from a local shelter. Eight years later this devoted and caring pup would return the favour as rescuer for the family.
It was December 2015, the Hawman family was preparing for the holidays. Noreen Lucas, who lives in Edmonton, Alberta travelled to Aberdeen, Saskatchewan to celebrate the holidays with her son Mitch Hawman, his wife Santana and their three children. Over the course of her stay, Noreen came down with pneumonia and on Christmas Eve, she decided to stay home and rest up while Mitch, his wife and children drove into Saskatoon for a holiday dinner with extended family. To help ensure she felt better and rested for Christmas Day, Noreen took a sleeping pill and subsequently fell asleep on the couch. The pill she took was quite strong and Noreen was in a heavy sleep when she awoke briefly to hear Rex barking. She found this very odd as Rex seldom barks, but because she was so drowsy, she brushed him off and quickly fell back to sleep. Noreen was in such a deep sleep, she did not wake up to the home’s two smoke and carbon monoxide detector alarms. Determined to wake Noreen up, Rex continued to bark and nudge her – tugging at her pant leg, and even trying to pull her off the couch. In a desperate effort to save her, Rex eventually managed to gather enough strength to latch on to Noreen’s leg, pull her off the couch and drag her across the room towards the front door, before she finally woke up. Noreen opened her eyes and to her shock, she saw intense bright flames and smoke quickly spreading down the hallway in front of her. The house was on fire. As quickly as she could, Noreen got to her feet, grabbed what she could and with Rex’s help was able to escape the burning home.
Mitch and his family were already heading back to Aberdeen from dinner, when he received a frantic phone call from Noreen alerting him to the fire, and telling him she was safe thanks to Rex. 911 was called but by the time fire fighters arrived there was nothing that could be done to stop the fire. It had completely engulfed the house. Today Noreen feels completely indebted to Rex for her life – if it wasn’t for him, this grandmother would not have woken in time that fateful Christmas Eve.