Saved by the dogs

Rudy Norman
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A Robert's Arm couple is saying that they're lucky to be alive this week, and they have their dogs and Facebook to thank for it.
Angie Budgell-Strickland and her husband, Greg, say they had no idea that a carbon monoxide leak from their furnace was infesting their home with an invisible, odorless poison.

The couple say they're unsure when the problems with their furnace came about, but their two K-9's were the ones who first started feeling the effects, and started acting what Angie says, is 'strange.'

"It started out with our dogs being sick," she said. "One of them was actually acting very depressed, not wanting us to leave the house for three or four days. The other one was very tired and had no energy to the point where I literally had to pick her up and put her in the bed."

Mocha and Princess, the two dogs in question, were not normally like what they had been acting as of late - however Angie says they still didn't consider that something bigger could be at play.

Even after a couple days when the couple started getting sick themselves, the alarm bells didn't go off, because they thought it was just a normal occurrence for the time of year and the recent temperatures.

"I had flu-like symptoms and was feeling dizzy and tired," she said. "My husband had a headache and we simply thought we were getting a cold. Little did we know we were slowly being poisoned."

It was after several days of the Stricklands being sick, that Angie decided to inform her social media circle what was going on.

"I put on Facebook that my dogs weren't feeling well and one of my Facebook friends suggested that if I had wood heat that I should check the carbon monoxide levels."

Angie says, thankfully, they didn't hesitate on the advice and immediately went and got a carbon monoxide detector.

"As soon as my husband pulled the tab, it alarmed," she said - indicating to them that there was in fact a leak in their home that was contributing to their sickness.

"There must have been a small crack in our furnace box which allowed the fumes to escape into our home," she explained. "So in my case, I guess, posting details of your life on Facebook worked out in the end."

After discovering the leak, the couple says they left their home for a little bit, and left all their windows open to ventilate the house. Carbon monoxide doesn't take long to leave, once the space is ventilated.

As for their furnace, Strickland says they were able to move quickly and install a new one right away.

However, she says, she hopes this is a warning to others who burn wood as a source of heat.

"I want everyone to be sure to have at least one of these detectors in their home. It could save their life, like it did in our case," she said.

And of course, Mocha and Princess, who are now back to their old selves, helped too.


Geographic location: Stricklands

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