A Consumer’s Energy employee with a sharp memory who helped save an elderly dog from a house fire in Howell says “always pay attention to details and the little things matter”.

26-year employee Guy Houseman performs gas leak investigations and appliance repairs out of Consumers Energy’s Howell service center. He’s described as a dedicated employee and a devoted animal lover. He was on call the night of July 3rd and responded to an emergency request to shut natural gas off at a house fire on Coon Lake Road. He arrived to find firefighters battling a blaze believed that have started by used fireworks reigniting in the garage.

Houseman went to work to make sure the gas was shut off and performed routine testing of the home’s gas line but had a “deja vu” moment and kept thinking he had been to the home in the past. After checking records, it turned out he had been to the home last November for a furnace repair and remembered an elderly beagle named Pearl that kept following him around. After making the gas situation safe, he requested prior service records for the address. Sure enough, Houseman had been to the home last November for a furnace repair. Houseman immediately told firefighters he was sure a dog lived in the home. Firefighters were able to find Pearl, a 12-year-old beagle, cowering underneath a bed. She was scared but not hurt.

Houseman told WHMI he always remembers animals at homes he’s been to, whether dog or a silly cat so when he arrived that night, he knew he had been there before. He says after firefighters rescued Pearl from the home, everyone on scene was tearing up and grinning that they were able to get her out safely. He says the DART team gave Pearl water and everybody just started loving her up. It was only just recently that Houseman, homeowner Claire Stevens and Pearl were able to reconnect and it was an emotional reunion. He said he had a whole bunch of emotions going on from heartwarming and gratifying to proud. He referred to Pearl as a “little love sponge” with her tail wagging, just eating up all the attention.

Stevens, the homeowner, said it was surreal and horrible to see the damage to the house, but material things can be replaced. She said knowing her children were safe and not home when the fire occurred was the most important thing. Stevens said it was a very lucky coincidence, maybe even divine intervention, that Houseman was the person who responded to turn off the gas because firefighters wouldn’t have known Pearl was inside.

Although this was a story with a happy ending, not everyone is always as fortunate. During times of emergencies, Houseman says if he has a hard time finding someone, then so do police and fire. He says having the simple, inexpensive green reflective address signs on both sides of a mailbox go a long way, especially for those who live far off the road. (JM)