A heroic Staffordshire Bull Terrier who saved his family’s lives during a terrible house fire was presented with the “Animals’ George Cross” at a special ceremony in London June 14th.

Diesel was abandoned tied to a tree at 9 months old, and then spent several months at the Animals in Distress Rescue Centre in Ipplepen before being rehomed by the Ash family from Dartmouth. Diesel went on to save all of the family’s lives in May last year when he alerted them to a fire sweeping through their house in the middle of the night.

Diesel has been awarded the PDSA Gold Medal, also known as the Animals’ George Cross. Instituted in 2001, it rewards acts of animal bravery and exceptional devotion to duty, and is the highest honour for outstanding animal bravery in civilian life. Diesel was awarded the prestigious medal on Wednesday by Princess Alexandra at a special ceremony in the City of London.

Diesel’s heroic act

In the early hours of the morning on Saturday 28th May, Jordan and the rest of the Ash family were all sleeping peacefully when Diesel alerted them that something was wrong. Diesel stirred from where he was sleeping at the foot of Jordan’s bed, and began burrowing and scratching at the duvet, barking and licking Jordan’s face – Diesel was on a mission to wake him.

Realising something was wrong, Jordan got up and opened the bedroom door, to see a wall of flames half way up the stairs, only six feet away from him. He pushed his Mum and Dad’s bedroom door open, and ran in to wake them up. 

Jordan’s Dad Chris climbed out of the spare bedroom window and together they helped his Mum Tina to get out onto the kitchen roof. Jordan ran back to get Diesel, who was now hiding under the bed terrified. The whole upper storey of the house was now completely filled with smoke, and the fire was advancing quickly. Jordan almost fainted when picking up Diesel but managed to get himself together, and ran out with Diesel. The fire was so close as they ran past that Diesel’s whiskers were singed in the flames.

Jordan passed Diesel out of the window to Chris, and then jumped out onto the kitchen roof, from where they were all able to climb down and wait for the Fire Brigade.

The next day the family took Diesel to the vet to be checked over, and thankfully he was pronounced completely fine.

The house was completely gutted by the fire, which had been caused by their freezer catching fire. Everything was gone including the staircase, and the whole house had to be refitted.

Jordan Ash, Diesel’s owner said “I like to think it was his way of repaying us for rescuing him. Staffies have such a bad reputation but he has the most lovely, placid nature. Diesel undoubtedly saved our lives that night, without him I wouldn't be standing here today and I will be forever grateful.”

Watch the lovely PDSA video about Diesel here