The Siekert family felt a little bit sick, but didn’t think it was anything out of the ordinary. It was the family dog, Abby, who alerted the mother to a carbon monoxide leak.

Nicole Siekert and her two 5 1/2-year-old twin daughters, Bella and Grace, woke up feeling sick one morning, according to Little Things. Her two daughters both felt well enough to go to school, so she didn’t think much of it at first. She had no idea that the home was filling with a toxic gas due to a carbon monoxide leak. She figured it was probably a cold or the flu. Luckily, she did not make the kids stay home from school.

Feeling dizzy, Siekert tried to lay down to get some rest, but her nine-year-old Australian border collie didn’t let her. She kept nudging and pawing her until she finally got up.

The dog led her downstairs where she heard the faint beeping of the carbon monoxide detector in the basement. Abby sat down right next to the carbon monoxide alarm. She had saved her family from the carbon monoxide leak.

It was cold that day in February. The furnace wasn’t working right, so Nicole plugged in a space heater. The source of the carbon monoxide poisoning was the furnace intake that was blocked.

Siekert opened windows and doors after she figured it out and went to sit in her car for warmth. She called the daughters’ school and doctor.

They were treated for carbon monoxide poisoning at Waukesha Memorial Hospital. Blood tests showed that Nicole had high carboxyhemoglobin levels, and the daughters had lower levels. The dog showed no signs of carbon monoxide poisoning.

The company We Energies provides electrical service to areas of Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, and natural gas and steam energy to areas of Wisconsin. The company heard about the family’s story and decided to reward the dog with a basket full of treats and toys. They awarded Abby with a certificate to recognize her for her heroism.

The family adopted Abby when she was eight months old from a rescue shelter. She was also given a year’s supply of Milk Bone treats and was honored by being included in the list of “Dogs Who Changed the World.”

When they returned home from the hospital, Abby dined on filet mignon rather than her usual dry dog food. She was taken to a dog spa and was sent home with a collar that said “Huggable Hero.”

The Siekerts bought another carbon monoxide detector for the upstairs and replaced their furnace. The incident led Siekert to tout the benefits of having a carbon monoxide detector in the home and to encourage others to install them.

It’s important to have a detector installed on any level of the home with a gas appliance, such as a drier, stove, or water heater. The gas can be difficult to detect, so it is important, especially in the winter months when the home is closed up. The gas can overtake a person in a matter of hours, and prolonged exposure can lead to negative health effects, such as brain damage.

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