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In October 2008, Leo the mutt (a chirussell, part Jack Russell terrier and part chihuahua) risked his life staying behind in a Melbourne house fire to guard a cardboard box containing four kittens.

A mother and three children, plus their other dog, and the mother cat, all got out of the house in plenty of time. But Leo would not leave the kittens. Firefighters found him still guarding the box.

Before Leo and his wards could all be gotten out of the house, Leo succumbed to smoke inhalation and heat. Fortunately he was revived with chest massage and oxygen, and the first thing he wanted to check out was the box of kittens.

All the firemen hung around before going off duty in order to play with and praise Leo. And they gave him a new nickname: Smoky.

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