Guide dog saves blind woman from intruders, gas leak

A seeing-eye dog from north Philadelphia is being hailed a hero today after saving her owner’s life twice in one night.

Not only did this guide dog scare away home invaders, but she also called emergency services when she smelled a gas leak.

Christina Colon was in bed asleep early Friday morning when she heard her guide dog, Labrador Retriever Yolanda, growling by her bedside. Frightened, Colon listened for a sign of what had disturbed Yolanda and heard two male voices speaking in hushed tones downstairs. Intruders had broken into her home, and Colon knew her life was in danger.

That’s when brave Yolanda sprang into action. Colon tells NBC News Philadelphia that Yolanda pulled the bedroom door shut, leaving Colon safely inside, and then bolted downstairs after the burglars. Colon could hear Yolanda barking loudly, scaring away the intruders.

“She protects me every time,” Colon says proudly of her beloved guide dog.

But Yolanda wasn’t done with her heroics yet that night.

As the intruders fled Colon’s home with Yolanda at their heels, one of them managed to turn a knob on the kitchen stove, filling the home with potentially explosive natural gas. Colon coughed and gasped, struggling to breathe, crawling towards the telephone to call 9-1-1.

“Please, I can’t breathe!” she screamed, begging the dispatcher to send help quickly.

But it turns out help had already arrived. The dispatcher told Colon the emergency phone in her home had already been dialed. Moments earlier, remembering her vital training, loyal Lab Yolanda pressed a button on what her owner calls “the bad people phone,” alerting responders to the emergency unfolding at Colon’s home.

“I taught her to call the police,” Colon explains to ABC News. “I have a phone for a blind person, [and Yolanda] calls 9-1-1 if something happens to me.”

Emergency responders were quick to credit Yolanda for saving Christina Colon’s life Friday morning.

“This was a very dangerous situation,” Philadelphia Police Captain Frances Bachmayer tells CBS News Philadelphia. “The offenders we believe got in through the rear basement, forcing the rear basement door. At 3 o’clock in the morning it could have been a very serious situation.”

Colon knows that if it weren’t for Yolanda, she might not be here today.

“Maybe for you she is the hero,” Colon says of Yolanda. “But for me, she is my angel.”

One of the suspected intruders has been taken into custody, ABC News reports. Colon’s neighbor, 18-year-old Tomayo McDuffy, who had allegedly harassed Colon in the past, has been charged with attempted murder and burglary, among other serious charges. McDuffy’s bail has been set at $500,000. Police are still searching for the second suspect.

Sources: CBS News Philadelphia, ABC News, NBC News Philadelphia