Canberra golden retriever Jack named 'dog of the year' for saving owners
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Canberra golden retriever Jack named 'dog of the year' for saving owners

Man's best friend more than earned his title the night he saved an Evatt family from a potentially serious house fire.

Eight-year-old golden retriever Jack woke his owners up with barks and whimpers when an outdoor lamp set alight.

Dog of the year Jack with his owner Scott Gilbert at home in Evatt.

Dog of the year Jack with his owner Scott Gilbert at home in Evatt.Credit:Rohan Thomson

Owners Scott and Lauren Gilbert had left the light on while Jack finished his dinner and prepared to come back inside.

They were nodding off when Jack started barking.

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"I was like 'Yeah, Jack just do your business, I'll be there in a minute', then he stood underneath our window which faces on to the backyard and he was whimpering and crying," Mr Gilbert said.

"Normally he doesn't do that."

Worried about annoying the neighbours, Mr Gilbert peered outside to make sure everything was OK. He started to suspect something was wrong after realising the light was no longer on.

"There was like an orange flicker, so I was like oh, nah, that's not normal, so I opened the back door, had seen that the light fitting had caught fire, had melted the plastic housing, and it dropped the light on the ground," Mr Gilbert said.

"Basically there was melting, burning plastic on a chair as well as on the roof, so I just yelled out to my wife 'Shit, the house is on fire, quick, get up'."

Mr Gilbert sprung to action, turning off the power and grabbing water to settle the blaze. ACT Fire and Rescue assessed the home and gave the Gilberts the OK.

A relieved Gilbert family paid tribute to their beloved fur baby.

"If Jack wasn't there - if he hadn't have been barking and whimpering and acting strangely - I might've even nodded off to sleep ... so if he hadn't have barked and whimpered we probably would've both gone to sleep and who knows how far it would've spread," Mr Gilbert said.

"The next night he got a lot of steaks and a lot of cuddles."

Jack was named Dog of the Year by petsitting website, Mad Paws, on Saturday.

Finalists included Newcastle Shih Tzu Zeppelin, who moved to Australia from Laos, Perth rescue dog Piper and Victorian Groodle Bodhi, who helped her owner through her partner's death.

Emily Baker is a reporter for the Sunday Canberra Times. She previously reported on education for The Canberra Times.

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