'He is a hero:' PETA awards Wauwatosa man for saving dog from house fire

WAUWATOSA, Wis. (CBS 58) -- PETA awarded a local man a "Compassionate Action Award" for saving the life of a blind senior dog from a house fire. 

The fire happened near 68th and Terrace Court on Tuesday, Sept. 22. Joe Loduha, a former EMT and local carpenter, saw black smoke in the air when he was driving by the area on his way to work. 

"There was already a neighbor outside, and he was calling 911. I jumped out and just asked him, 'Is anybody inside?' He said, 'I don't know' and I decided to get in to see if anybody was in and sleeping," Loduha told CBS 58.

Loduha kicked in the door and found the homeowner's dog, 14-year-old Darma, inside sitting on the couch. 

Loduha scooped up Darma and took the 50-pound dog outside to the neighbors. He then returning back inside to make sure no one else was still inside the home. He was treated with oxygen, and Darma was reunited with her owner. 

"I don't think I did anything that anyone else wouldn't have done," Loduha told PETA. "All I knew was that as soon as I heard there was a dog inside, I had to get in there. I am a huge dog lover."

Loduha told PETA he was so moved when the dog's owner rushed to the scene, saying, "All he really cared about was making sure Darma was OK. He wasn't worried about his home or his belongings—he ran to his dog."

"Joe Loduha risked his own life to save a dog he'd never met," says PETA Vice President Colleen O'Brien. "He is a hero, and PETA hopes his selflessness will inspire people everywhere to do whatever it takes to help an animal in need."

"Joe Loduha risked his own life to save a dog he'd never met," says PETA Vice President Colleen O'Brien. "He is a hero, and PETA hopes his selflessness will inspire people everywhere to do whatever it takes to help an animal in need."

Loduha will receive a framed certificate and a box of vegan cookies for his heroic work. He's also encouraging everyone to consider donating to the GoFundMe page set up to help Darma and her owner recover from the fire. 

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