About an hour after falling asleep On Jan. 17, Menash Petscher was awakened by his Saint Bernard Nana, who was frantically and persistently licking his face. Alarmed by her behavior, he got out of bed to check the house when he smelled smoke. He opened the bedroom door to find the house engulfed.
The family assembled quickly and evacuated the home, but when they had a moment to collect themselves, they noticed that Nana was missing. Menash said he was not going to let her die. He ran back into the home to save her.
“I was crawling on my stomach in the house, calling for Nana,” he said, but she didn’t come.
Blinded by smoke and flames, he was forced to retreat. Loyal to the end, Nana had followed her master upstairs as he ran from bedroom to bedroom to collect the children and evacuate them. She never made it out.
In honor of Nana’s heroism, the Chautauqua Children’s Safety Education Village held a special ceremony in her honor yesterday. Her family was presented with a plaque featuring a photo of Nana and the words A True Fire Hero.
“We consider her a fire hero just because of her instinct, and that she knew to wake the father, who was downstairs at the time,” said Terri Kindberg, the agency’s executive director.
But Petscher said he would give up everything he owns to have his dog back. He says she was a beloved family member who will forever be remembered as a hero.
“It’s weird to even be talking about her in the past tense,” he said. “These are the things you can’t get back.”