I'm OK; you're OK

The fire on Pilgrim Street in Seddon, Australia, last Saturday night was a bad one. It gutted the home of Janine Kelly and her children, although an alert neighbor warned them in time to get out. Barney, one of their two pet dogs, also escaped. But when firefighters arrived, the kids were frightened and upset. In the confusion, no one had remembered to carry a box of four tiny kittens to safety. And Leo, their other canine, probably still was inside, too. So some of the firemen entered the house ... and found a remarkable scene. Despite smoke and flames becoming more intense by the minute, there was Leo, stoically guarding the kittens even though his instincts might have led him to save himself. In the end, all were carried to safety. Other firemen administered a few gulps of oxygen and offered some water to revive Leo, a terrier not many months older than the kittens. It was, recalled fire chief Ken Brown, "a wonderful sight" when the pup – now dubbed "Leo the Lionhearted" – realized that his charges were safe and gave each an affectionate lick. A little later, as the Kellys returned to see whether any of their belongings could be salvaged, Leo once again was on duty, sitting on a mattress in the front yard as though he was guarding the premises. Chief Brown told reporters that his crew expected to nominate the young dog to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals for a bravery medal.

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