By Debby Schamber

For the Record

The Texas Veterinary Medical Foundation has chosen a local top dog as an inductee into their hall of fame in the hero category. 

Sascha, a doberman pinscher, is responsible for saving the lives of Glenn and Thelma Sterling when their house was on fire. It all began when the dishwasher short circuited and sent deadly smoke throughout the Bridge city residence. Sascha who slept with her owners attempted to wake them by licking their faces. At first her owners were unaware of what was going on and told her to “go on.” But, Sascha continued to lick Glenn’s face until he took notice. He awoke and it was pitch black. He turned on a nearby light and saw their was white smoke all the way down the bed. 

Glenn jumped out of bed to see the billowing smoke filling their house. Fortunately, the trio was able to escape through the bedroom window without injury. 

“Sascha is our lifesaver,” Thelma said. 

Firefighters quickly arrived, but not before the house was heavily damaged by soot and water. 

The Sterlings are Nederland natives who moved into their home in Bridge City 30 years ago and shared 48 years of wedded bliss. While this was their first fire, it was not their first home makeover. It was actually their third since they has damage after Hurricanes Rita in 2005 and Ike in 2008 which wrecked the house.Ike’s storm surge in 2008 pushed nine feet of water into their house and ruined everything they owned, including three vehicles.

Glenn was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma in 2006 and underwent two years of chemotherapy before receiving stem cell transplant in 2008. He lost his battle in November. With Sascha by her side, Thelma continued on with the renovations. 

Following the death of Glenn, Sascha misses him terribly and mopes around. She sniffs his golf clubs in search of something familiar. 

It was not uncommon for Glenn to get up first in the morning and go to Sonic for breakfast. He then brought back a breakfast sandwich for Sascha, cutting it in half before feeding her.

“She ate everything he ate,” Thelma says. “Even an ice cream cone from Dairy Queen.” 

Sascha still loves her cones and Thelma does all she can to make up for Glenn not being there too. 

Sascha joined the Sterling family in  2011 following their retirement and a loss of another much loved family pet. Thelma waited until she found the right dog. When she saw the photos of Sascha as a puppy, she knew this was the one for them. 

Sascha has a strong pedigree of international grand champion and national champions. Her veterinarian, Dr. Tilman Richey, says Sascha’s markings are that of a true Doberman Pinscher. She is a perfect specimen of color and weight, according to Thelma.  

Sascha was nominated by Dr. Richey for her heroics. 

In 1984, the TVMF created the Texas Animal Hall of Fame to share the joy of the human-animal bond by recognizing exceptional animals. Through the Texas Animal Hall of Fame, they strive to honor outstanding contributions our animal companions make to human lives, to heighten public awareness of the human-animal bond, and to allow animal lovers to share in celebrating their pet’s accomplishments. 

Nominations are sought in three categories: hero, companion and professional. TVMF is proud to celebrate animals that give back to the community with the announcement of this year’s inductees, according to TVMF.