Veteran Exclaims, ‘She Is My Hero,’ After Being Saved By Service Dog

A Vietnam veteran is alive today because of his service dog, “Bella.” On September 21, Tony Damato’s family home in North Ridgeville, Ohio, caught fire.

Tony Damato was asleep at his home when the fire broke out – nobody, aside from his faithful young service dog, was inside of the house. The veteran suffers from a multitude of health issues, including an inability to smell. Without this crucial sense, Damato was oblivious to the dangerous smoke which was filling his home while he was napping.

Fortunately, Bella knew that something was amiss and she took action to ensure that her person would wake up.  Damato told Fox 8 News, “Bella jumped up on me and was making sure I got up.”

On a fundraiser, created to help the Damato family get back on their feet, the frightening situation was recounted from Bella’s perspective:

My dad woke up and managed to make his way to the porch where he then passed out. I then accidentally locked myself in my dad’s room and hid under his bed where I was found unconscious.

Thanks to the North Ridgeville Fire Department, Bella was found and brought outside to safety. Her time in the smoke-filled home had taken a toll…she needed oxygen to be revived. After being rescued from the house fire, Damato and his faithful service dog both required hospitalization. By Sunday, they had both recovered enough to be released.

Today, the family is living with relatives because their home was destroyed. Find the GoFundMe fundraiser to help the Damato family as they recuperate from the fire at this link.

Penny Eims

Penny is a freelance writer who provided content to her National Dog News column at for 8 years. She is a current contributor to Fido Friendly Magazine, as well as a newly formed website, Pet Rescue Report. Penny is married and she has two rescued German shepherds and two kids.