The American Red Cross of the Southern Tier will be holding their 5th Annual Hero's Breakfast at 7:30 am on May 8th at the Holiday Inn Arena in Binghamton. The event is to honor twelve community members who went above and beyond the call of duty in different categories.

Although each and every one of these recipients' stories are worthy, this is the story of just one very special hero: a Beagle pup named Maddie.

Harper's Haven Dog Rescue in Harpursville is committed to hospice patients, finding loving homes for their dogs without having to fear their beloved animals will be "put down." But on this occasion, Harper's Haven took in a pregnant beagle from a soon-to-be deployed serviceman. On January 8th, Maddie was adopted by the Walker family of Chenango County; just over two short weeks later her true colors came out. And they were blue... true blue.

On the bitterly cold night of January 25th, Amy Walker was woken up by Maddie's constant crying and barking, even though up until this point Maddie had slept all through the night. Once awake, Amy became alarmed by the sound of the furnace. She quickly shut it down and called Suburban Propane. After an inspection, it was determined that the exhaust was blocked and had been filling the entire house with carbon-monoxide which would soon have become fatal.

You see, dogs (and other animals) have the ability to smell and hear things that humans cannot. When asked about Maddie's abilities Amy could only say: "from the day Maddie came into our lives she has been a blessing everyday."

I'm sure each of these American Red Cross Community Heroes is deserving of their awards, but I've always been kind of partial to to the four legged sort. You see Maddie is kind of family. She is my pup Hallie's sister.

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