Pampered pooches, beloved family friends, medical alert specialists, search and rescue agents — dogs play a vital role in our lives and have done so for millennia. For Muncie, Indiana resident Brad Lee, his dog is also his hero, after saving him from a house fire.

Late Monday night Lee was fast asleep, but was woken by his two-year-old Lab frantic and barking. “She was on my chest and she was barking and I was saying ‘Bella it’s not time to play,'” Lee told WTHR. He pushed her aside, but Bella was not about to give up. When Lee opened his eyes at Bella’s insistence, “the fire was on the ceiling.”

Bella’s heroic instinct

Lee’s first instinct was to run out of the house to save Bella. After he secured her leash to a pole a safe distance from the house, he ran back towards the house, hoping to attack the fire with a hose. But in the few minutes it took to get Bella to safety, the fire had blazed out of control.