Hero Dog Leads Police to Fire

On Friday, Alaska State Troopers bestowed a special honor on a German Shepard dog named "Buddy" for his valiant actions during a fire at Caswell on April 4. The dog guided Talkeetna trooper Terrence Shanigan to the fire and saved responders valuable time to search for the location in the maze of Caswell's backroads.

The fire broke out in a workshop adjacent to the Heinrich's residence in Caswell, where the dog's owner Ben Heinrich was working on a vehicle. Inflammable fumes caught on fire and flash-burned Heinrich's face and hands. Heinrich told the dog that they need to get help and when escaping the flames in the shop, the dog disappeared into the dark woods.

Meanwhile, trooper Terrence Shanigan was on his way to an emergency call to Talkeetna, when received a frantic phone call from a neighbor that there was a fire in Caswell. Unable to pinpoint the location and hampered by a failing GPS, Shanigan drove towards the Hidden Hills subdivision. Suddenly he saw a shadow along the Caswell Loop Road and he turned on the videotaping system. Shanigan said that he then saw the dog, waiting at the intersection. Shanigan said he had a hunch that the dog was trying to guide him. The trooper followed Buddy as the canine was running ahead of the car, frequently turning his head to make sure that the car still followed him. After 1.5 miles, the dog had directed him to the burning workshop. From there on, Shanigan was able to direct firefighters to the fire's location and their fast response saved the house.

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