Dogs Trust

Heroic Hound Wilbur Saves His Family From House Fire

A former Dogs Trust Ireland resident is being hailed a hero after saving his sleeping family from a terrifying house fire.

Wilbur was surrendered to us as a young puppy in December 2021 after his original owners realised that he wasn’t the Spaniel cross that they were promised, but a much larger breed. Luckily this case of mistaken identity led to Wilbur’s adoption in January of this year and his new forever family never looked back.

When his adopters heard the usually quiet dog barking frantically, they immediately knew something was wrong. Thanks to Wilbur raising the alarm, the family quickly realised that their house was being engulfed in flames, and they were able to quickly and safely leave the burning property.

Speaking about the frightening event, Wilbur’s adopter explains: It’s really quite simple, Wilbur saved both me and my son’s life. If it wasn’t for the fact he barked until I woke to alert us something was wrong, I would never have known the house was on fire until it was too late. He is undoubtedly a hero in our eyes and forever our most loyal friend.”

Sandra Ruddell, Assistant Manager at Dogs Trust Ireland continues:Wilbur’s family gave him a second chance in life by adopting him, and in turn he saved their lives and their home. We are so grateful that everyone is okay, and that the family and Wilbur could get to safety.

Rhodesian Ridgebacks were originally bred for their bravery and to protect the family home, so it’s no surprise that Wilbur lived up to his heroic heritage. All our dogs are special, but Wilbur’s story really goes to show you how loyal our canine companions are. If you are looking to add a dog to your life, choose rescue and you never know, that dog might just come to your rescue one day too.”

We currently have over two-hundred dogs just like Wilbur, who are searching for new homes. If you are interested in adopting, please visit to see some more heroic hounds.