Between ruining the furniture, chewing up the carpet, and stealing food off the kitchen table, animals definitely have a naughty side. Cats, dogs, birds, you name it — our furry and feathery friends can be handfuls and headaches. But is there something to these outbursts?
One Tennessee man believed his pooch was just having an annoying moment when he wouldn’t stop barking in the middle of the night. Frustrated, the man tried going back to sleep before he very quickly realized that something was seriously wrong. He needed to act fast.
The Crocketts of Cookeville, Tennessee, were a loving family. Darrin Crockett was the patriarch, and together with his beautiful wife, Jenny, they raised three adoring daughters between the ages of ten and fifteen.
Every member of the Crockett clan was beloved throughout Cookeville, but Darrin especially so. Not only was he a pastor, but he also tirelessly worked as an administrator and athletic director at the local high school.
Of course, no picture of the Crockett family was complete without their adorable dog, Doc. The loving white Lab was an essential element of the household, but they didn’t realize just how crucial he was until one spring night.
Late in the evening on March 2nd, all was quiet in the sleepy suburban neighborhood. Everyone in the five-person family had long since drifted off to sleep. Everyone except for Doc.
And not only was he awake, but he just wouldn’t stop barking. Darrin remembered feeling incredibly irritated, as he had work in the morning. The pastor went to drastic lengths to try and silence the animal.
The American Kennel Club
“I remember praying to the lord, ‘I know that you’re sovereign over all things, and so could you please make our dog quit barking, make him shut up?’” Darrin recalls. Little did he know that nightmarish events were soon to transpire.
Suddenly, Darrin received an alarming notice on his phone: there was a tornado rapidly approaching. In Tennessee, a state known for its awe-inspiring storms, this could prove fatal. And if it weren’t for Doc, he wouldn’t have even been awake to receive the message.
Darrin Crockett jumped into action, knowing that mere seconds of hesitation could mean the difference between life and death for his family. He summoned everyone together and, in a blind frenzy, hurried them down to the basement laundry room.
Flickr – Chadica
Moments after getting to what the family refers to as their “go-to safety spot” and shutting the door, they heard a terrifying noise. Above them, the storm was whipping through their house, and they could hear bricks crumbling overhead.
“The house starts shaking, and it was on us, and the next thing you know, it was gone and we are underneath the house,” Darrin reported, remembering the awful moment of sheer terror.
The Crocketts were still far from safety. They had to think quickly if they didn’t want to perish in the tempest and become just another casualty of the tornado. Right then, Jenny’s instincts took over, and she came up with a plan.
Facebook – Putnam County YMCA
Fumbling around in the dark laundry room, the panicked mother finally grasped onto a flashlight. Using this illumination along with the bright glow of lightning strikes outside, she searched frantically for an escape route.
Super Bright LEDs
At long last, Jenny found a crawlspace that the family could use to travel out from beneath the collapsing house. However, as they were making their daring escape, they heard a heartbreaking noise.
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It was the sounds of Doc’s whimpering. Their prized pup, who had saved them from harms way, was afraid and alone. Although devastated, the Crocketts had no time to stop. Their lives were at risk.
The next day, when the family was out of harm’s way, Darrin went back to examine the damage and found their house in shambles. “We’re just fortunate to have had room to crawl out and only experienced some minor scrapes and nail pokes along the way,” he said.
Tragically, the family would also learn an absolutely heartbreaking piece of news that day: Doc, their beloved canine to whom each of them owed their lives, had passed away. His death was not in vain, however…
Shelly Mays – The Tennessean
“He will go down as a hero,” Darrin said. “We will celebrate him and talk about him for a long time.” While the Crocketts mourned their beloved pet, they also had some other issues to deal with; they had lost their home.
The incredibly close-knit community of Cookeville wasted no time in rallying around the family. In fact, the entire town went to extreme lengths to help the Crocketts out after their tragedy.
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Residents of Cookeville set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for the devastated family. “Darrin and Jenny ha[ve] always been so giving in our community and especially to our youth. Now it’s time for us to step up and help them,” it read.
Doc will be forever honored as a hero, just as many other faithful pets have before him. When Jenna and Eric Brousseau decided to invite a new puppy, Duke, into their home, they had no idea the impact he would ultimately have.
After being passed around from animal shelter to animal shelter, Duke was brought home in 2006. Right away, the Brousseaus lauded him not only for his obedience, but also how well he got along with the couple’s young son and newborn daughter!
On a recent night, however, Jenna noticed Duke was acting strangely. Suddenly, he jumped up onto the bed and started shaking uncontrollably. Given that this was a far cry from his typical behavior, the couple sensed something was seriously wrong.
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At first, Jenna and Eric wrote off Duke’s behavior as nothing serious. They even tried to push him off their bed so they could get back to sleep. But he was persistent, and every time, he’d jump back up and start shivering.
“He started shaking, as if there was a storm coming,” Jenna recalled of the frightening incident that took place in the middle of the night. Clearly, something was the matter, and they needed to know what—fast!
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After a few moments, the couple began to realize that their dog was trying to tell them something—and they instinctively thought of their baby daughter, Harper. Had their dog really been so perceptive that he could sense something was wrong with their child?
At that, Jenna and her husband rushed to their nine-week-old daughter’s bedroom to see if something was the matter. There she was, lying in her crib, but something was clearly not right.
What they discovered terrified them: Harper had stopped breathing and was lying motionless in her crib—and clearly, Duke was trying to tell them about it! They had no time to feel relieved, however; this was a life or death situation.
Jenna lifted her daughter and started to pat her on the back, hoping she’d start to breathe again. Meanwhile, Eric hurriedly dialed 911 to call emergency responders to their home as soon as possible.
With their newborn daughter’s life at stake, Jenna and Eric were willing to go to any length to rescue her. They continued to try and pat Harper’s back, hoping and praying that something would cause her to start breathing.
With each excruciating moment, the family grew more and more horrified. Had they found poor Harper in time to save her life, or would they be too late? It was a scenario no parent would want to be in…
A few moments later, and much to the relief of Jenna and Eric, Harper began to breathe! There had clearly been something lodged in her throat, but there was nothing in her crib to suggest she’d eaten anything.
That was when Jenna and Eric realized that Harper must have suffered from acid reflux. They could only assume that something had upset her stomach while she slept, and she’d began to choke, which stopped her breathing. Luckily, Duke was around!
The parents were forever indebted to their beloved rescue dog. “We rescued him and he reciprocated and rescued our daughter,” Jenna said of the alert pooch. “Duke without a doubt is a hero to us, he is our family’s hero.”
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Duke’s story was incredible in its own right. Just before the Brousseau family adopted him, poor Duke had been passed around from shelter to shelter. In fact, had they not taken him in, he probably would’ve been euthanized.
“We could never justify spending money on an animal when there are so many animals that need rescuing,” Jenna said during an interview. “We’ve always felt from the beginning that [Duke] was appreciative of us rescuing him.”
“He’s the perfect dog,” Jenna said. “He was meant to be ours. I tell him all the time, ‘you were born in Mommy’s heart.'” She hoped that Duke’s story would encourage more people to adopt a pet of their own.
If Jenna and Eric hadn’t decided to adopt Duke, there’s really no saying what could have happened. One thing was clear, though: they know that choosing to bring him home was likely one of the best decisions they’d ever made.
There was no specific reason as to what caused Duke to notice Harper had stopped breathing. Whether it was a sixth sense or animal instinct, they couldn’t be sure. But what he did certainly proved that, no matter what, he was a hero!