KILGORE (KYTX) - Firefighters honored a Kilgore cocker spaniel for saving her owner's life. Her name is Sassy, and you don't mess with her mama.
Sassy is full of sugar, and spice. The two-year old cocker spaniel was Stacey Freeman's 10-year anniversary gift from husband John.
"My husband's a big dog lover, so we always had big dogs, so it took me 12 years before I talked him into letting me have a small inside dog," Freeman said.
On July 30, Sassy went beyond paying it forward.
Her husband and kids went out for dinner -- Stacey had a head cold and stayed behind.
"I laid down, went to sleep. The nighttime medicine kicked in," Freeman said. "What I remember is going to sleep, and her scratching me, and I pushed her off of me, 'Ow, Sass!' And when I opened my eyes, my house was full of black smoke and I couldn't see anything."
Stacey grabbed her phone and Sassy, but see couldn't find a way out.
"I just started praying, 'God, please help me.'"
And in that moment...
"It felt like someone tugged my shirt and guided me to my back door," she said.
Sabine Fire Chief Richard Sisk's firefighters responded along with units from Kilgore -- by then, it was fully engulfed.
"But even amongst that tragedy" Sisk said, "a miracle had already taken place before we ever got there."
That miracle was Sassy saving Freeman's life. She suffered minor smoke inhalation. Now the Liberty City community is helping her. A benefit auction and barbecue lunch was set up Saturday outside Oasis Hamburger Restaurant on Gladewater Street.
"Ms. Artie Miller, and Ms. Tammy and Ms. JoJo, and all the ladies provided everything you can think of try to help us raise some money for a new home," Freeman said.
It was also a chance for Chief Sisk to present this plaque to Sassy, for ultimately saving a wife and mother.
"Act like you're gonna hit me or push me or come at me or shove me, she'll get in between you and stop," Freeman said.
Stacey Freeman's uncle is Kenny Stowe from Storage Wars Texas -- he stopped by to help raise money for his niece's family.
A fund has been set up at Austin Bank under the name, "John and Stacey Freeman," to help raise money for the family. Donations can also be submitted through PayPal, at email@example.com.