A Heroic Act
to Save a Furry Friend

Chris Edwards, her dog Heidi, and Captain Rob Rutten.


Below is a letter from Dr. Carl Dahlstrom to the Battalion Chief of the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service recognizing the heroic actions Captain Rob Rutten took in saving a beloved life.

Dear Chief Alan Butsch,

After some research I learned that as the Battalion Chief of the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service, Captain Rob Rutten is on your team. I understand Mr. Rutten was the fireman responsible for running into a burning building at Leisure World® Maryland and saving an unresponsive dog named Heidi, owned by Chris Edwards.

The purpose of this message is to express appreciation for the actions Captain Rutten took, while risking his own life to save the life of a dog. I am the owner of Dahlstrom Senior Support Services, a Leisure World® based business focused on providing assistance with Senior Care and the Care of Senior’s Pets. I also have several dogs of my own so I’m very sensitive to this issue. I have lived in Leisure World® for 4 years and have had the pleasure of meeting many of the residents and their pets. Chris Edwards experienced the nightmare all pet owners have, the potential loss of their beloved pets due to a fire. Most pet owners consider their pets a member of the family. For many of the individuals living in Leisure World® their pets represent the only “family” they have. I have observed the symbiotic relationship residents have with their pets. The pets thrive on the love and care from their owners and for many of the owners, their pets represent not only companionship but also a sense of responsibility and a general purpose for living.

I have not met Captain Rutten however it is clear to me he is probably a dog owner and truly understands the bond people have with their pets. Heidi’s owner, Chris Edwards, told me Rob Rutten was responsible for going into the burning building when she told him her dog was still in the apartment. Rob donned his breathing apparatus and went into the apartment which had black smoke pouring out of it. He came out with Heidi in his arms who was unresponsive and appeared to be dead. Captain Rutten gave Heidi mouth to snout resuscitation and revived Heidi. I know fireman routinely deliver babies, pull seriously injured people out of wrecked vehicles and save lives with first responder medical procedures. It is rare to hear about a fireman risking his own life to save a dog. I sincerely hope Rob’s extraordinary heroism results in the recognition he deserves. I’m certain all Leisure World owners in addition to Chris Edwards feel the same.


Dr. Carl Dahlstrom
Owner/Operator, Dahlstrom Senior Support Services

Photo courtesy of Chris Edwards – Resident of Leisure World® Maryland.