I received an email from a client with the header: “My puppy started a fire. . . ”

Those are the emails you are afraid to open and read!

She continued. . .

“So we are all ok and the damage was contained to the kitchen but we had a really scary night.”

Well, at least she noted right away that everyone was ok!

Read on for what happened and how you might be able to prevent a potential disaster in your own house.

This puppy is a large breed dog and is around five months old at the time this happened.

She continues with her email:

“We had a pizza box on the stove top. (Puppy) put his paws up there to try to get it and his paw turned the burner on.

“We didn't notice (it's electric so it takes awhile to get hot).

“(Puppy) and I were hanging out in the family room and I kept smelling something but it didn't register at first that it was something burning.

“I finally went to investigate and there were flames coming from the stove area. Huge flames!!

“We got the fire extinguisher and put it out but by then the entire house was filled with smoke.

“We got the kids and animals outside and then opened all windows and doors.

“We lost our microwave and stove and probably will have to redo the backsplash.

“Could have been so much worse so we're thankful.

“But boy what a mess!! Adventures in counter surfing….ugh! ”

Thank goodness no one was hurt. Can you imagine if that had happened and then everyone had left the house for school or work or what-have-you? Yikes!

Please keep in mind how easy it can be for accidents to happen.

While we cannot prevent all accidents, there certainly are things we can do to minimize the chances of something disastrous happening.

In this case, making sure things like pizza boxes, dish towels, etc. are never put on the stove would have helped.

Make sure if you are cooking on the stove, no pan handles hang over the edge that a puppy could catch with their paw and knock off a pan filled with something hot.

Make sure you always check the stove is off before you head to bed or exit the house!

Teach puppies to stay AWAY from the stove altogether. Teach puppies that countersurfing (or stove surfing) is not acceptable behavior by making sure they NEVER get rewarded for jumping up or putting paws up. Make sure they are rewarded for keeping all four paws on the floor, especially when in the kitchen.

Try not to leave any food unattended on stove or countertops. Or anything that smells like food. Whether or not there was any pizza left in that pizza box, I bet it still SMELLED like pizza!

Take a walk through your kitchen and the rest of your house. Take a look at it from your puppy's perspective. Put yourself in their place and see if you can determine what might peak their interest. Smells, sights, sounds. What could get them in trouble? What can you do to prevent it?

Let's hope you never have any stories like this to share!