Alisha McKevitt said that if she had not been woken by Rosie, she would not have survived. She and her two other dogs escaped before the blaze gutted the building, leaving her and her husband, Paddy, homeless.
They have been given a temporary home, and “absolutely amazing” support, by their community in Omeath, in Co Louth. Alisha said: “I think, by waking me, that Rosie did save my life, because it was literally seconds I had to get out.”
Rosie did not survive the fire. Alisha said that the fire broke out before dawn, and as she ran from the house she assumed all the dogs were with her. She soon realised Rosie was not, but thought she might have run into the woods. “I searched and called for her, for what seemed like ages.” The firefighters discovered Rosie on Alisha’s bed and gave her oxygen as they tried to revive her. “She died of smoke inhalation and we are devastated,” Alisha said.
The couple only took Rosie in on New Year’s Day, after she had spent five days in the car park at nearby Flagstaff mountain.
“We think she had been abandoned in the car park and was waiting for her owners to return. Paddy fell in love with Rosie and brought her home.” She instantly became part of their family of pets, which includes Woodrow and Petey, who, along with three therapeutic horses, moved here with the couple from the US.
Alisha and Paddy were renovating the cottage at Lislea, Omeath, so Paddy could be near his elderly mother.
Alisha’s mother, Vondy Dunn, and her family, have set up a gofundme page to help the couple raise the €65,000 needed to repair their home.
“We did not have house insurance, because it was not up-to-spec, and we had depleted our savings, putting on a whole new roof that was more expensive than we expected. We intended to get it insured in the next few weeks. The house had been uninhabited for many years and was in need of extensive work. Also, we did not have any smoke alarms fitted; if we had smoke alarms fitted, this may have been avoided,” she said.
The couple has been given a temporary place and been inundated with offers of help to rebuild the cottage, as well as donations of furniture and other household items. “The response has been utterly, overwhelmingly amazing,” Alisha added. “Our neighbours are the best.”