Delilah to the Rescue

November 5, 2012  

A once abandoned pit bull saves her new family by alerting them to a budding furnace fire


By Steve DeTata

Sometimes things happen for a reason. For Delilah, a beautiful 2-year-old pit bull mix, that reason probably did not seem like a good thing. On May 5, 2012, her original owners abandoned her at the Downey Animal Care Center in Los Angeles, stating that they no longer had time for her. Fortunately for Delilah, Linda Chute, shelter volunteer and pit bull advocate, happened to be at the shelter when she was turned in. Linda took an immediate liking to the friendly and outgoing pit bull, who resembled a panda with dark brown patches over both eyes.

Delilah passed her temperament test with a perfect score, buying her a little extra time at the shelter. Linda and other dedicated volunteers visited Delilah daily, providing her with valuable training, socialization and play sessions with other dogs. Despite this, the right family never came along and Delilah was running out of time. She managed to survive in the shelter for nine weeks, which is a considerably long time for a pit bull in a Los Angeles county shelter. Linda, who has saved hundreds of pit bulls from the Downey Animal Care Center worked her magic and arranged for Karma Rescue in Santa Monica to save Delilah.

(Photo of Amber and Dr. Kato Pomer courtesy of Lori Fusaro)

Karen Pomer adopted the first pit bull mix to be placed from Karma Rescue nine years ago. Amber, who was a reverse image of Delilah, passed away suddenly on June 22, 2012. Karen, who lives in West Los Angeles with her 95-year-old mother Kato, was not sure she wanted another dog. Amber was like having an assistant nurse present for Kato, who often requires a wheelchair and the use of oxygen. Amber would lie beside Kato’s bed and alert Karen if something was wrong. After weeks of a dog-less home, Karen decided she would give fostering a dog a try. She contacted Rande Levine, founder of Karma Rescue and with Executive Assistant Marnae Roll’s help, the match was made. Delilah would be Karen’s foster dog.

Delilah was recovering from a urinary tract infection at the same veterinary clinic that Karen used for Amber. Karen brought Delilah home but found her to be a little more aloof than Amber. She seemed depressed, refusing to eat and lying around all the time. This was the opposite of Amber who was always playful, had a big appetite and was eager to go for a walk.

The transition of bringing a new dog into a home, especially after losing a long time companion can be very difficult. Karen, still struggling with her own grief, thought that Delilah might not be the right dog for her and ultimately made the difficult decision to return Delilah to Karma and select another dog. Kato accompanied Karen and Delilah to a Karma adoption event where Karen turned Delilah over to Marnae. After looking at several other dogs, Kato poignantly said to Karen, “You need to stop all this nonsense. We need to take Delilah and go home right now.” It was a moment of clarity. Karen adopted Delilah and took her home.

In the months that followed, Delilah blossomed as Karen’s grief over the loss of Amber lessened. Delilah returned to being the spunky and playful dog that she was known to be at the shelter. She had a big yard to play in, where she could engage in her favorite activity of catching water from the watering hose in her mouth. Delilah made many dog and human friends in the neighborhood and loved to go on long walks, especially to the beach. Karen recalled asking her mother if she thought Delilah was as smart as Amber, when it came to Amber’s penchant for watching over Kato. Kato was not so sure. The next day, she would be proven wrong.

Kato was not feeling well and asked Karen if she would turn the furnace on. Being summertime in Southern California, the furnace had not been used in some time. Karen and Delilah were headed out for a morning walk, which usually would last an hour. As they were exiting the front door, Delilah bolted back inside and ran upstairs. Delilah rarely spent time upstairs, as the area was not used very much and everyone lived downstairs. Karen followed Delilah to a room where she was focused on a heating vent.

Karen immediately smelled smoke coming from the vent. She ran downstairs to turn the furnace off and noticed the smell of smoke growing throughout the house. Fortunately, the source of the odor, which was likely an animal’s nest, did not catch fire or spread smoke to Kato’s room. If fire or smoke had spread, the elderly Kato could have easily been trapped.

Being that Karen and Delilah would have been gone for so long, the outcome of the furnace fire could have been much different, had it not been for Delilah’s alertness. Karen and Kato consider Delilah a hero, and there is no doubt in their minds Delilah saved Kato’s life.

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Comments

4 Responses to “Delilah to the Rescue”
  1. ReneeMKeller says:

    Awww Ms. Delilah is a hero!!!  She is also a beauty!!!

  2. Matt.S says:

    Great job, Delilah! You saved one life and changed other lives for the better!