BEAUFORT, S.C. (WSAV) — When retired Vietnam veteran Brian Rand adopted his dog Curly three years ago, he didn’t expect Curly would save his life.
But that changed last week when Rand’s house caught on fire.
“The next thing I know Curly’s poking me in the nose,” Rand said. “I thought my alarm must be going off and I didn’t hear it. I grabbed it and I looked at it and it said two minutes to one. And I looked at him and I said, ‘What the hell are you waking me up for?’ And then all of a sudden I started to really smell the smoke.”
Beaufort firefighters said if they took only two minutes longer to get out of the house that early Monday morning, they wouldn’t have made it.
Thanks to Curly, they escaped unharmed.
“When we first walked outside we couldn’t really tell what was going on just from all the lights,” Rand’s neighbor Tim Lovett said. “But as we looked across the street, you could see the flames shooting out of the eve of the house. Everyone kind of huddled around Brian as we watched the house burn and the fire department put it out.”
Firefighters say the cause of the fire is undetermined and the house isn’t salvageable. Now, Rand’s neighbors are banding together to help him rebuild the home he lost.
“We decided together as the neighborhood community it would be a good idea to see if we could raise some money to help Brian out,” Lovett said.
They’ve raised almost $4,000 so far.
“Everyone knows Brian and Curly. They’re out for their walks a couple of times a day and they stop and visit with everyone along the way. Curly’s got to be one of the most well-behaved dogs I’ve ever seen,” Lovett said.
“They call him the mayor of our street,” Rand said. “Somebody even gave me a hat that says, ‘Curly’s dad.’ I’ll see people walking here and I’ll say ‘Hi’ and they say, ‘Oh yeah we know you, you’re Curly’s dad.’”
PETA is honoring Curly with a framed certificate and a gift basket filled with toys and treats.
“Curly showed unconditional love and selfless bravery in saving his best friend’s life,” PETA Vice President Colleen O’Brien said. “Rescued dogs rescue us right back.”
“People keep asking me, am I upset about losing my things? As long as I have Curly by my side, I have what I need,” Rand said.
He says he can rest easy knowing Curly will always have his back.
“I rescued him and he rescued me, so now we’re even,” Rand said. “We’re stuck with each other.”