Skip to content

'Hero' puppy dies after warning B.C. couple of house fire

Nina Rose and Allan Lawrence escaped an early morning Sechelt fire with two of their dogs, their cat and their lives. Their two puppies, however, perished in the fire. Now, the couple is left with their grief and the task of rebuilding their lives.

Nina Rose was sleeping on the couch of her Selma Park home in the early hours of Feb. 12, when she woke to her nine-month-old puppy, Kegger, barking. The young Japanese chin chihuahua was warning her of the fire already ablaze in the room. 

“It was so much smoke, I was already coughing,” said Rose. “It was already hot in there.” 

In the confusion, Rose and partner Allan Lawrence – who had been in another room – got their two older dogs out of the home, but the young Kegger got scared and hid, said Rose. 

“We look for him as long as we could,” said Lawrence. 

“I called and called and called,” said Rose. “And then it was just…he just didn't come. And it was too hot." 

“We didn't even get our shoes on. It was so fast,” said Lawrence. 

Kegger’s littermate, Gypsy, had hydrocephalus so was blind and small. She also couldn’t escape the flames. 

“I've never seen anything like it in my life,” said Lawrence. “I don't know why it happened. The world's hard to figure out sometimes.”

Firefighters save surrounding homes

Sixty per cent of the mobile home was already "involved with fire" by the time the Sechelt Fire Department arrived on-scene shortly after 1 a.m. (eight minutes after they received the call) on Feb. 12, fire chief Trevor Pike told Coast Reporter. With fire and smoke showing from all of the windows and doors, department efforts focused on evacuating and saving the homes on either side of the home. Within 30 minutes, firefighters had the fire knocked down, said Pike, and about an hour after the department was called, the fire was extinguished. Three apparatuses attended the scene along with 17 firefighters.

There were no injuries to the human occupants or the firefighters, said Pike.

Investigators were on-scene Monday to determine cause, said Pike. But the extent of the damage is making the investigation difficult. “The front half of this structure is also unsafe to enter, so we're unable to enter into that area without potentially risking injury to our investigators,” he said. “Having said that, we're going to continue to do the best we can to try to figure out the cause.”


Now, the couple is left to rebuild their lives and grapple with the grief of losing Kegger and Gypsy. They do have their surviving older dogs, Tank and Echo, as well as their cat Rylee. 

“The community has already been phenomenal,” said Rose. “While the house was burning, the emergency team was there, helping us right off the spot.”

Emergency Social Services attended the scene that evening and put Rose and Lawrence up at the Driftwood Inn in Sechelt for three nights and provided some food vouchers. 

A friend set up a GoFundMe for financial donations and physical items can be dropped off at the Gibsons Garden Hotel (where Rose works and where the couple will stay next). 

“It’s hard to accept things like that. You know, it's like it feels weird,” said Lawrence. But the couple was left with neither shoes nor wallets. Everything burned.

For now, it’s the small things the couple needs – underwear and bras, clothes, shoes (Rose is size seven, Lawrence size 12), dog toys to brighten Tank and Echos’ days.

There are also the bigger things that will take time. 

“I pretty much lost everything I've built for the last 10 years,” said Lawrence. He bought the home just over a decade ago before moving to Duncan and subletting it. He and Rose moved to the Coast about a year ago and he was almost done renovating it.

Lawrence had also recently started his own vehicle detailing business, Epicallyunreal Mobile Auto Detailing. He had the chance to do five detailings and now all of his equipment is gone, as well as his carpentry tools. 

But most of all, the couple wants to thank the community that’s stepped up to help: Rose’s employers at the Gibsons Garden Hotel, Rob Jack Roofing, emergency services, the firefighters and all of the couple’s friends and family. “We've been really, really fortunate.”

“People that don't even know us have gone beyond help. There's no words,” said Rose. “And I'm just dumbfounded. I feel like we'll we're gonna come out of this and we're gonna be OK.”

“We're just so thankful that we live here,” said Rose. “We love the Sunshine Coast. And so we plan on staying and we're going to fight through and make the best of it. 

'Little hero that he is'

And Rose – voice still hoarse from the smoke – comes back to the dogs. 

Gypsy, “She was tiny. She was about the size of your hand and she was never going to grow. She was a special dog,” said Rose. 

Kegger was “full of entertainment, daily entertainment,” said Rose. “A mischievous little guy and anything he could get into, he got into. He was pretty, pretty cool.

“He was only nine months old and he saved our lives. I just want him to be recognized as the little hero that he is.”