Welter, like many, lost her power and water during the day Jan. 28. Unable to get out and purchase supplies, Welter used the resources she had on hand. She said she lit candles and filled her wood stove to keep warm.
Welter has two cats and four dogs she has rescued over the years. "In the 27 years I have lived in the Village I have probably rescued about 90 dogs," Welter said.
Welter said she went to bed that night, as usual, and woke up later to put wood in the stove. "Everything was fine," she said. But that was soon to change.
At about 11 p.m. Welter said her dogs began to bark and make noise. "They never do that during the night," she said. "But I didn't think much of it and I just hollered at them to hush."
Then Dixie, one of the dogs Welter rescued just a few weeks before, did something out of character. "Dixie jumped up on my bed and put her teeth at my head," Welter said. "She never really bit down but she tugged at me and I knew I had to get up."
"I walked down the hall still groggy from being asleep and when I got into the living room I couldn't see anything," Welter said.
One of her cats, who has eye problems and is known for being clumsy, had knocked over a burning candle and the house had caught fire. "The fire was in the dining room and by the time I got to it, it was about knee high," she said. "The smoke was so thick I couldn't see anything."
Then reality set in, the power and water was out due to the ice storm and she had no way of contacting anyone for help. "I knew I had to get the fire out," she said.
Welter said she always keeps a large water dish full for the dogs and that is the first thing she thought of. "I picked it (the water bowl) up and threw it into the fire," she said. "The glass top table was so hot it just shattered, but the fire was still going."
Welter said she looked for anything she could find to put out the fire. "I opened the refrigerator and there were two full liters of Coke, so I poured them on the fire, and that's how I put it out."
After smothering the rest of the flames, Welter said she was in total disbelief. She said her walls and ceilings were covered in soot, then she looked at her dogs, they were covered too.
The only fire damage the house sustained was in the dining room, the floor was burned pretty badly. "We planned on replacing the linoleum anyway," Welter said with a smile. "It took me days to wash the soot off of the dogs."
"The next day they got rewarded for being heroes," Welter said. "I bought them a $13 steak and 2 bags of pig ears. I grilled the steak and cut it up for them to share."
"I just hope, through this story, people can gain the understanding of what animals are capable of," Welter said. "They saved my life."