Bill's wife Cindy had gone to bed early that night, taking her dog Lilly and cat Callie with her. Bill stayed up as he often did, working in his home office. After finishing most of his paperwork, Bill decided to take a break and watch a movie in the basement theater room. He started the movie, but then dosed off in his recliner.
Suddenly he was awakened by Sofia, his 7 year old white shepherd. At first he ignored the dog. He tried to turn away and go back to sleep- but Sofia was insistent. She kept nudging and pawing at him.
"I sleep hard and waking me up isn't easy but somehow she did it.", He said. "Sofia and I went upstairs. I looked over and saw the south part of the house fully engulfed in flames!" Bill ran to the bedroom, woke Cindy and ushered her and their lab mix Lilly out to the yard. Cindy ran, barefoot and in her nightgown, to a neighbors home with Lilly in tow.
Then Bill went back into the house and tried to slow the fire with a fire extinguisher. The heat had become so intense that the windows exploding, so he ran back out of the house.
Olathe firefighters and police arrived on the scene just minutes after the first 911 call.
Bill told officers that he thought his pets were still inside. A police officer went with Bill to the back of the home; they kicked in doors, calling for Sofia and Callie, to no avail. The fire was still burning and heavy smoke billowed. It was simply too dangerous to enter the structure, so they retreated.
After the fire was out, police searched what was left of the home. Sadly, the family cat, Callie, and Bill's beloved dog, Sofia, had both perished in the fire. The two pets were found huddled together in a bedroom closet.
Bill theorizes that Sofia, who hated shrill noises, had run upstairs to the closet to get away as smoke detectors and fire sirens began screaming. Or, maybe, she went back for Callie- their 18 year old calico cat.
We will never know why she left Bill's side. One thing is clear: Sofia's actions saved her family that night. Bill, Cindy, and their surviving pet, Lilly, all made it out of the burning home safely because of Sofia's persistence.
Sofia was a "rescue" as were their other pets, Lilly and Callie. She and Bill were particularly close.
Bill and Cindy Berry lost a lot in the fire, including keepsakes and irreplaceable items. But, their pets were most valuable and they mourn the loss of Callie the cat, and Sofia the dog. And, they are both extremely grateful to Sofia.
"Sofia did something extraordinary for us and lost her life in doing so. She was my dog and my friend.", Bill said.