Dog Alerts Local Family To House Fire

A Tribute to a Rescued Dog that Rescued Back

After Cindy and Don Greisbach’s English setter passed away, they had no intention of adding another dog to the family. Then, during a visit to New Life Pet Adoption to donate blankets and toys, they met Gismo.

“He melted our hearts with his black eyes,” said Cindy of the timid rat terrier. Soon, the little dog was on his way home with them.

A victim of abuse, Gismo had been found by rescuers tied up outside and left to die. Even when safe at the no-kill shelter in Marathon, Wisconsin, and later after his adoption, Gismo remained apprehensive of humans.

“It took us two months just to pet him and win his trust, but when he came out of his shell, he started making us laugh every day,” said Cindy. “When he came into our house, he met our other dog, Charlee, and ran into every room in our house, ending up on the couch looking at us like ‘Ok, I like this place. I will stay’.”

Three-and-a-half years after Cindy and Don rescued Gismo, the little dog returned the favor. On Saturday, February 11th at 2:00AM, Gismo, who is normally a calm sleeper, jumped on Cindy in bed and urgently began licking her face.

“I pushed him away but he kept jumping on me and licking my face,” recalled Cindy. “I finally woke up to an odd smell in the house. I got up and it was a little hazy. I searched the house to find the odd smell.”

After carefully inspecting the basement, garage, and every room of the main floor, Cindy woke Don, who had been a volunteer firefighter for 30 years.

Together, the couple tracked the source of the haze to their dishwasher.

“Don took the excess panel off the dishwasher and we found the wires smoldering together with a burn hole the size of your fist on the wooden floor,” said Cindy. “Who knows what would have happened if Gismo did not wake me up. Gismo looked at the wires, and looked at me like ‘I told you something was not right!’ and wagging his tail.”

Proud of his work saving the family and their home from destruction, Gismo casually went back to being his normal friendly self. His humans, on the other hand, continue to marvel at his intuition. If Gismo had not awoken them when he did, the Griesbach’s would likely have awoken to a fiery blaze.

“You always hear of these stories, but never think it would happen to you,” said Cindy. “We would tell anyone to adopt/rescue an animal, because you never know when they will rescue you in one way or another.”

Sadly, a few weeks after rescuing his family, Gismo passed away. Though Cindy and Don are heartbroken over the loss of their little dog with a big attitude, they are grateful and blessed to have had him in their lives.

“We truly believe that God put him in our lives to save us from a fire in our house,” said Cindy. “Then his mission was done, and he went to dog heaven.”

Learn more about pet adoption at, and find your future furry family member through PetFinder.

News Desk
Author: News Desk