A Cane Corso mastiff is being proclaimed a hero after saving the life of one of his owners during a recent home invasion in Colorado in which the house was ransacked then deliberately set on fire.

Leo was adopted just three months ago through Cane Corso Rescue. Startlingly only 7 months old, Leo demonstrated the true nature of this unique dog breed by not only alerting his owner of danger, but also guarding and protecting her while the house was being vandalized and set a fire by use of accelerants.

Leo was adopted by Sumir Brown and her mother after losing their Rottweiler. “We weren’t going to get another dog,” mom Maihlon reveals, “but then Sumir saw Leo and fell in love.” What’s now funny is that Leo wasn’t brought into their lives to take the role as a guard dog. His responsibility was to be a pet. But as owners of this breed will attest, protecting the ones they love is part of the Cane Corso’s design.

Sumir and her mother moved into their new home about the time Leo arrived. And, because Sumir travels a lot for work, Leo and Maihlon quickly bonded. Little did she know that Leo’s loyalty would soon be tested.

One Tuesday night, just after midnight, Leo woke Maihlon with a deep and low grow that had never been heard before. Sumir was out of town, and Leo was asleep in the master bedroom upstairs with Sumir’s mother. Bravely, they ventured downstairs then outside to check things out. Nothing was amiss.

A few hours later, Leo again demonstrated the same protective behaviors. Although Maihlon heard nothing, Leo knew there were criminals downstairs slashing furniture, spray-painting walls, and disabling the smoke detectors.

Leo, still upstairs in the bedroom, stood guard! Maihlon vividly describes the events of this night, “All Leo’s teeth were showing, and it was obvious he meant business as, he went into a ‘charge’ stance as he watched the bedroom door and slowly made his way to my side, hackles up from head to tip of tail”. There was an eerie dead silence in the home then an explosion and a huge fireball flew past us breaking the window and igniting the front porch on fire. We had one way out and seconds to depart.” With the brave Leo leading the way, the two made it out to the yard to safety, “Within seconds many more explosions rocked the house and the neighborhood, alerting the neighbors to the horror of the burning house”. Both Leo and Maihlon hid until the police and firefighters showed up, Leo never left her side.

The fire was so intense, fast burning with explosions that firefighters could not enter the house; because of the dangers, they had to fight the fire from a distance with water hoses. Thirty-one firefighters responded to the fire and numerous police were on scene; some evacuated the house next door because of the intense flames and danger. The house and all personal belongings were lost. Even the Toyota, 4-Runner in the drive way was hit by a fire ball that ignited the gas tank and blew up the truck. And, to think Leo’s only a 7 month old puppy is pretty incredible.

“Leo is a real hero,” Sumir gleams. “He saved my mother’s life, and I’m forever grateful for it. He’s my first Cane Corso, but I have the feeling he won’t be my last.”

The Cane Corso has unjustly been tagged a “dangerous” breed by some media and uneducated lawmakers, but it is clear from this tale that with a loving
family in the mix, there are no boundaries to what this ancient breed will do to defend the lives of the ones they love.

“This is both an unbelievably frightening and truly beautiful story,” proclaims Liz Sawyers of Cane Corso Rescue. “It doesn’t surprise me that Leo, even at such a young age, put his own safety at risk to safeguard his family. It’s what the Cane Corso does. And as you can now see from this story, they’re quite good at it. Leo is a special dog, and I’m beside myself with joy knowing that he saved the day.”