Dogs are capable of great acts of heroism when their owners are in danger, and Carmen demonstrated true doggy heroism.
When a fire ripped through owner Ben Ledford's house in Ohio, US, she lay on top of his face trying to protect him from the smoke and fire.
"A lot of dogs instinctively know when there’s a crisis going on and so a lot of them do go try to protect their owners,' said veterinarian Dr. Marlo Anderson.
Ledford sadly didn't make it after the incident in February - he died in hospital. And Carmen was left with severe lung damage, caused by smoke inhalation and was taken to the Care Centre Vets.
She was kept sedated but treatment was needed to repair the damage to her lungs - estimated to be $25,000. A fundraiser was set up on Crowdrise and donations flooded in. The total amount came to $29,000.
Carmen received the treatment she needed and finally, she can go home to Ledford's brother Phil, who will be looking after the dog. She will need physical therapy to help her to walk again and has started eating again.
“It’ll be tough in that sense, seeing Carmen every day, because she will remind me of Ben,” Phil told WCPO. “But it’ll be like having a piece of him around.”
“We still cannot find the words to truly express how much we appreciate the support we’ve received from everyone for Ben, the family and for Carmen,” the fundraiser page says. “If it hadn’t been for the vet who rescued Carmen, the Care Center and the support and donations from friends, family and pet lovers from around the world, we would not have been able to provide Carmen with the level of care that has allowed her to walk out of the hospital today.”
The family are struggling to cope with their loss, but Carmen is providing a bright spot amid the tragedy.
They wrote on the site on 10 February: "Today we laid Ben to rest. It was by far the hardest thing our family has ever had to do, though our spirits were lifted when we got an update on Carmen.... We're thrilled to share that she's improving!"
Carmen is a testament to canine bravery, which can also include other life-saving acts such as sniffing out cancer. British dog owner Josie Conlan found a cancerous lump in her breast, that was only detected because her collie Ted kept whining and pawing at her chest.
"We are very close. I have had other dogs, but never formed as strong a bond with them as I have done with Ted. He saved my life."
Flying Dogs by Julia Christe