Schmichael

There’s always room for one more. The three Giffin children had persuaded mom and dad to add another dog to the family crew of a dog and two cats. The kids wanted a puppy this time. So, in late April last year, Daniel Giffin and his family headed to a pet store near their home in Bath, Ontario, and picked a 12-week-old pup. Schmichael was now a member of the family.

There was no early bedtime that night at the Giffin home. An exuberant puppy and excited children made sure of that. Cole, Spencer, and Sarah stayed up later than usual, playing with Schmichael. Finally, their mom, Tracie, announced it was time to go to bed and headed them off to their rooms.schmichael_hero

When Daniel came home from work, Schmichael was already asleep in his crate by the bed. The family fun had tired him out. About 1:30 in the morning, Daniel was suddenly awakened by loud whimpering from the puppy. Something was wrong. Schmichael was clearly agitated and was trying to get the attention of his new companions.

Daniel headed to the window. What he saw shocked him. The barn just behind the house was ablaze, with the wind whipping flames high off the tin roof. He yelled for everyone to get up, screaming that there was a fire. The family rounded up the pets and fled outside. Daniel called 911 from his cell phone.

Firefighters tried hard to put out the blaze but the flames had spread to the house. The family watched as everything burned to the ground. They had lost their home but they were all alive. “Call it fate, call it coincidence,” says Daniel. “But in less than 24 hours of coming into our lives, Schmichael helped save us.”

Investigation showed that a freezer had shorted out in the barn, causing the fire. Today, the Giffins have rebuilt their home on the same site. Schmichael is now a year old. Daniel has plans to open a gourmet restaurant in the town just west of Kingston. And what will he call his fine-dining spot? Why, Schmichaels, of course, in honour of the four-legged bundle of fate that instantly made an impact the day he arrived.