HOLIDAY, Fla. (WFLA) – Bubba the Boxer knew exactly what to do Sunday night when his owner’s Holiday home filled up with smoke.
He jumped up from his favorite sleeping spot in the living room and raced to her bedroom door, paws sliding on the hardwood floors in the hallway.
With thick, toxic smoke polluting the air, the 100-pound Boxer never hesitated, not even for a second. It was clear he had a life to save.
Laverne said her iPad caught fire while it was charging. She was sound asleep when it happened and had no idea just how dire the situation was as she slept peacefully, until the clever canine barreled through the threshold to wake his best friend.
Laverne immediately woke up as Bubba nipped at her hand, urging her to get out of bed.
“You know, he scared me,” Laverne told 8 On Your Side during an exclusive interview. “He came through that door like he was a gorilla. He knew I was in trouble.”
Every second counted that night since highly flammable substances were inside the home as the iPad was burning in the kitchen.
Laverne explained that she relies on an oxygen tanks for survival. Firefighters were extremely concerned once they arrived at the scene because there was more than one in the house.
They would later tell Laverne how lucky she was that Bubba rushed in when he did.
“They said the chemicals alone would have filled the house, and if I had not woken up, I probably would have died in bed, and the tanks could have exploded,” she said.
The former nurse, now retired and living in Holiday, is fighting for her life. She shared with us the dire circumstances she’s facing as she battles an incurable lung disease. In fact, she depends heavily on her sweet boy, Bubba, to look out for her.
And, he does each and every day, including Sunday when she wasn’t feeling well and went to bed early.
As for the iPad, Laverne says after it caught fire while charging, it was destroyed. She admits she wishes she could get a new one, but says she cannot afford it, nor can she drive all the way to the Apple Store in Tampa.
She says one firefighter encouraged her to get a new iPad.
“He said, what are you going to do, take this back to Apple? I said, I’m not able to do that right now. Obviously I’d love a new iPad, but can’t get to Tampa. Bubba and I used to watch the iPad together, so I guess we can’t anymore. But, we’ll be just fine,” she said. “We will be okay.”
Sunday was a day Laverne will never forget.
She’s alive, all thanks to her loyal companion. She smiles as she recalls seeing his sweet face at her bedside. When she woke up, Laverne says she tried to put the fire out while calling Pasco County Fire Rescue. It became too much, however, for her to stay inside the house.
She was gasping for air while standing in the smoke. So was her dog.
“Bubba was snorting, trying to breathe, but couldn’t. I opened all the windows and got us out of there as we waited for the fire department,” she shared with us.
Ultimately, Laverne says, she is alive. So is her courageous canine.
And, even though she doesn’t know how much time she has left, this dog mom feels nothing but gratitude. In fact, when she informed us of the grim statistics regarding the life expectancy for her disease, just five short years, Laverne remained remarkably upbeat and positive.
“Look how beautiful it is outside, look where we live, life is good,” she said, standing on her porch. “I may not know how long I have, but I am here with my dog and happy. I love him, and he loves me. He saved my life. My hero, that’s how I really feel about him. He’s my hero.”