Pet of the Year: A Hero Named Sue

Earlier this year, Downhome asked again for your stories of incredible pets for our Pet of the Year Contest -and boy, did you deliver! We received a slew of stories about beautiful companions offering love, bringing comfort and brightening our days together. A number of them were awarded honourable mentions, as you’ll discover on the following pages. Their stories range from hilarious to heartwarming, and sometimes a mix of both.
But first, it’s time to meet this year’s winner. She was chosen above all for her friendship, determination and bravery. Here’s the story of Sue the English setter and her human, Deborah Scott.

Sue is a five-year old English setter. She lives in Marysvale, NL, with her mom, Deborah. “She’s gotten me through a lot, the good girl,” Deborah says. “I lost my husband last year and then she lost her bigger brother. So it’s just me and her now, and we’re doing OK.”
But things were far from OK one night last summer. In August of 2022, Deborah owned a cabin on Bonne Bay Pond and was in the process of getting work done on it before moving in – until those plans suddenly went up in smoke.
“August 12th, last year,” Deborah recounts in a hushed voice. That night was the first time Deborah had been out socially since her husband passed away. “I had a couple of friends over for supper and we went to visit at another cabin. About 11 o’clock I came home and got settled away, got in bed, and went to sleep.”
Sue usually curls right in under the blankets and snoozes quietly, but this night, Deborah says, she was agitated. “She started jumping on me and barking. In my sleep, I just sort of pushed her aside and told her to be good, but she kept at it and kept at it and kept at it.”
Eventually, Deborah sat up to see what Sue’s problem was. She was shocked to discover the room was filled with smoke!
“The whole cabin was black with smoke,” she says. “We crawled out, literally crawled, and 10 minutes after we were out, it was fully engulfed.”
In nothing but pajamas and bare feet, Deborah took off to a nearby cabin for help, with Sue right by her side. The RCMP called the Southside fire department, but by the time they arrived, the cabin was a total loss. If it hadn’t been for Sue, the loss would have been much more tragic.
The bond between Sue and Deborah is stronger than ever. “She’s everything to me,” Deborah says.
Sue loves to run for miles and go for rides in the car. She’s devoted to Deborah’s two grandsons, who call her Sue Magoo because she’s so silly. She has a lot of allergies, so Deborah makes her special vegetarian treats (romaine lettuce is her favourite), and she loves to stroll around the pond. But after a small snafu involving a bird and the kayak, Sue hates getting in the water.
“She’s very lovable,” Deborah laughs. “She’s with me wherever I go.”
And how do you thank a dog for her heroism? “Give her everything she needs,” Deborah says simply. “Squeeze her, love her, that’s all you can do! I just look at her sometimes,” she adds with a laugh. “She can be a nuisance, and I just say, ‘Well, you did save my life!’”

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Downhome Magazine


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