Shaken Shih Tzu Saved From Horrendous Home Fire

Courtney Cecil and her furry sidekick Nikko, a five pound Shih Tzu, have enjoyed a Southern California lifestyle as best friends and roommates in their West Hollywood home, but that all changed when the two were separated… almost forever. After running a quick errand, Courtney returned to find her home engulfed in flames and Nikko trapped inside. Nikko’s miraculous survival and heartwarming recovery has earned him the title of July’s “Most Unusual Claim of the Month” by Nationwide.

Upon approaching the smoldering apartment, all Courtney could think about was getting Nikko to safety. She entered the burning building through a side door and searched through the thick black smoke for Nikko. After being knocked back by the heat and struggling to breathe, Courtney was losing hope for her tiny best friend. Suddenly, Courtney tripped over Nikko’s puppy gate and there Nikko was, cowered behind it. She quickly picked up the pup and ran out as fast as she could.

“When I got out of the building, the moment hit me where I didn’t want to look down at Nikko. I feared the worst, but somehow he opened his little eyes,” said Courtney. “It was a miracle he was still alive, but he was shaking and obviously needed medical attention. Fortunately we have Nationwide, so I wasn’t worried about medical costs and could focus on getting him the treatment he needed.”

Nikko Collage

After narrowly escaping certain death, Nikko was suffering from severe smoke inhalation and was rushed by Courtney’s neighbor to the nearest pet hospital. Nikko was treated in an oxygen tank, given intravenous fluid and was kept overnight. Courtney also needed medical attention and was attended to for similar smoke related injuries. Thankfully neither member of the duo was burned.

With the help of Nationwide, Courtney and Nikko have been able to move on from the disaster and start a new life. Nikko has fully recovered from the ordeal and is back to strutting the Sunset Strip with Courtney.

“I’m honestly blessed that Nikko is still here. I’m so thankful that we had Nationwide because I was able to use my reimbursement towards rebuilding our life,” said Courtney. “I encourage everyone with a pet to be aware that pet insurance exists. You always have to be prepared for the unexpected in life and with Nationwide, Nikko and I are ready for anything!”

Pet Health Spotlight

Little Nikko was a brave pup to have survived such a horrifying home fire. If ever your home is threatened by a blaze, knowing a few safety tips can be what saves your pet’s life.

Top ways to protect your pet:

  • Mount a pet rescue fire safety sticker in your window to alert firefighters in case of an emergency.
  • Remember your pet’s favorite hiding places so you know where to look if you need to leave in a hurry.
  • If you do evacuate, make sure to grab a leash or carrier because your pet is likely to panic at the smell of smoke.

Get more pet fire safety tips


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