Ben Heinrichs, a 23-year-old Alaskan, was working on a vehicle in a workshop outside his home when a spark ignited and the shop caught on fire (video below).
Heinrichs also caught on fire, suffering burns to his face and hand, reported the Alaska Dispatch News. However, he managed to escape the building and rolled on the ground, successfully putting out the flames.
His 5-year-old dog, Buddy, escaped from the shop without being harmed and ran for help. As Heinrichs explained: "I just told him, 'We need to get help,' and then that's the last time I seen him. I didn't train him or nothing. He just took off and went and did what he did. ... He was just being a good dog."
Somewhere down the road, Buddy was spotted by Terrence Shanigan, a state trooper who was attempting to respond to the fire but was lost because his GPS was malfunctioning. Shanigan is a native Aleut, according to the Anchorage Press; he is also Communications Director of the Alaska Libertarian Party, as revealed by the Party website.
As Shanigan’s dashboard camera shows, Buddy led the trooper directly to the burning building. Although it was too late to save the building, the dog’s heroic effort quickly turned him into a local celebrity.
Troopers recognized Buddy's bravery at a ceremony, the Alaska Dispatch News reported. They awarded him with a steel dog bowl engraved with the troopers' logo and Buddy's name with the words, "In appreciation of your diligence and assistance to Alaska State Troopers."
Sadly, Buddy succumbed to cancer in February, according to Alaska Public Media.