AN HEROIC dog saved a woman and her seven-year-old grandson from a caravan blaze which almost claimed their lives.
Peggy Novelle says she and grandson Jamie McKnight, seven, would not be alive if it hadn't been for the actions of four-year-old Mishta.
Mishta saved the day when a devastating blaze broke out as Peggy, 54, and Jamie slept in her brand new caravan at Southsea Holiday Park in Eastney.
The dog, a Portuguese Pandango breed, woke Peggy by pressing against her and making a groaning noise to wake her up in the early hours of the morning moments before the caravan exploded. Speaking for the first time since her ordeal, Peggy, who has recently been released from hospital, said: 'I thought there was something wrong with him, but as I thought that I could smell smoke and burning and I couldn't breathe properly.
'I leaped out of bed, opened the door, and could see the whole of the side of the awning was on fire.
'I grabbed my grandson, threw him out of the awning onto the grass, went back for my dog and then I got out, just launched myself out after him.
'Within seconds, maybe 30 seconds, it went up, it literally exploded.
'If my dog hadn't have woken me up, none of us would be here, I know that.'
Mystery still surrounds the cause of the fire, as firefighters could not find any reason for it. I don't smoke, I don't burn candles.
'The only thing I did differently was put on an extra heater for Jamie,' said Peggy.
Mrs Novelle moved to the caravan from the Algarve to be with her family after she was widowed. But she did not take out insurance for the caravan, and her aged car, which was also destroyed in the Christmas Eve fire, was insured only in case of theft.
Despite the trauma of losing all her possessions, she refused to postpone vital knee surgery at Southampton General Hospital. Her grandchildren clubbed together to buy her a new set of pyjamas so she would have something to wear while there.
She said: 'I have got absolutely nothing. My wedding ring is gone, everything is gone.'
If you can help Mrs Novelle with donations of clothes or shoes, contact reporter Emma Judd at firstname.lastname@example.org