A Staffordshire Bull Terrier has been awarded the prestigious PDSA Gold Medal at a special ceremony in London on Wednesday, in recognition for his act of bravery which saved his family.
Diesel was abandoned at nine months old, and spent several months at the Animals in Distress Rescue Centre in Ipplepen before being rehomed by the Ash family from Dartmouth. Then in May last, a horrific fire swept through the family's home in the middle of the night, but their lives were saved when Diesel alerted them to the dangerous situation.
The PDSA Gold Medal, also known as the Animals' George Cross, has rewarded acts of animal bravery and exception devotion to duty since it was instituted in 2001. It is considered the highest honour for outstanding animal bravery in civilian life.
In the early hours of Saturday 28 May 2016, Diesel awoke at the foot of Jordan's bed and sensed something was wrong. In a desperate attempt to wake his owner, Diesel began scratching the duvet, barking and licking Jordan's face. Jordan got up and opened his bedroom door to see a wall of flames half way up the stairs.
Once Jordan had alerted his parents, the family climbed out of an upstairs window and onto their kitchen roof. Jordan ran back to get Diesel who was hiding under the bed and managed to pass Diesel out of the window to his father, before jumping out onto the roof himself. The family were able to climb down and wait for the fire brigade to arrive.
The fire was caused by a faulty freezer and left the entire house completely gutted. Diesel was taken to the vet's the next day for a check over but was given a clean bill of health.
Jordan Ash, Diesel’s owner said, "I like to think it was his way of repaying us for rescuing him. Staffies have such a bad reputation but he has the most lovely, placid nature. Diesel undoubtedly saved our lives that night, without him I wouldn't be standing here today and I will be forever grateful."
A spokesperson for Animals in Distress said, "We are all so proud of Diesel, and over the moon that he has won this award.