Family dog alerts owner to danger

OKEECHOBEE — A dog named Trouble got his owner Genie Porter out of trouble on April 23 when he alerted her before a fire started in the family house.

Trouble, a 5-year-old Labrador, German Shepherd and Jack Russell mix, started acting strange around 9:30 p.m. while sitting on the front porch.

Genie Porter pets her dog, Trouble, two days after he helped alert her before a fire broke out in his owner’s garage. Photo by R. Marion.

“It looked like he was trying to get into the house,” explained Mrs. Porter. “He sat up on the chair on the porch next to the window almost like a human and started trying to get into the house.”

While trying to get Genie’s attention, Trouble pulled the entire window screen off his owners house, leaving it a mangled mess on the front porch.

“I don’t know how he did this,” said Genie. “But somehow after taking the screen off, he pushed the window up with his nose. It’s hard for me to open that window because it’s very tight, so I was wondering how in the world he could do this. Then, after he opened the window, he pulled the curtain down inside. I knew something had to be wrong, because normally he doesn’t act like that. So I brought him inside and called the police.”

Okeechobee County Sheriffs Office deputy Devon Satallante responded to the residence after receiving the call that Trouble was acting strange and that Genie was afraid to go outside.

Upon arriving, OCSO deputy Satallante greeted Genie and they heard a loud popping noise coming from the garage. The two made their way to the garage and Genie said she thought she saw sparks coming from the roof. Deputy Satallante raised his flashlight to the area where Genie had thought she saw the electricity and the pair heard the loud popping again, followed by sparks and smoke coming from the top of the garage.

“We heard a big boom and both jumped back,” said Genie. “I saw electricity and smoke everywhere and the officer said that he was going to call the fire department.”

Okeechobee County Fire Rescue (OCFR) responded to the scene and turned the power off to the residence. OCFR cut a small hole in the ceiling where the wire that was causing the sparking was located and discovered a leak in the roof. Florida Power & Light was contacted and Genie was advised by the fire department to contact an electrician in the morning to secure the problem.

“I keep thinking about what would have happened if we had just went to sleep that night,” said Genie. “I really believe Trouble saved our lives.”

Richard Marion is a staff writer and photographer at Lake Okeechobee News and can be reached at

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