This story was updated at 5 p.m. on Jan. 29, 2013.
Germantown resident Christy Williamson says her dog Kayla is part Boston Terrier, part angel.
While most people would be upset that their dog woke them at midnight, Williamson, 35, said she is grateful her 8-year-old pooch jumped onto the bed to save both of their lives on Jan. 23.
Both Williamson and Kayla had carbon-monoxide poisoning, Williamson said.
“If it wasn’t for her, I never would have woken up,” Williamson said.
Williamson said she came home that evening from a 90-minute massage. She was very relaxed and went to bed around 9 p.m. Just three hours later, Kayla was jumping onto Williamson to wake her up.
When Williamson got up to go to the bathroom, she said she fell into her dresser. Once she was in the bathroom, she fell again.
Thinking she was just tired, she went to lay back down. Williamson said she started feeling dizzy, her stomach hurt and she felt nauseous. When she went to check to make sure her alarm was set on her cell phone, she realized her phone wasn’t next to the bed as it usually is. She said she held on to whatever she could to navigate the room in search of her phone. She found herself leaning against her sofa to dial 911. She struggled to remember the address of her condominium and her name, Williamson said.
“All I wanted to do was go to sleep,” Williamson said.
A vehicle left running in a garage was the source of the carbon monoxide, said Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service Assistant Chief Scott Graham. He also said only one person was transported to a hospital for non-life-threatening illness.
Beth Anne Nesselt, public information officer for Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service, said carbon-monoxide poisoning is often confused with the flu because many victims may initially have nausea, fatigue, headaches, dizziness, confusion and trouble breathing.
Nesselt said carbon monoxide is known as the “silent killer” because it cannot be seen or smelled. The best way to combat carbon-monoxide poisoning, Nesselt said, is to have a working carbon-monoxide alarm. Williamson said her whole reason for speaking up about her experience is to make sure people are aware of carbon-monoxide detectors.
“Carbon-monoxide detectors are such an inexpensive investment and it can save lives,” Williamson said.
She said she and Kayla — who also was treated for carbon-monoxide poisoning — are recovering at her mother Cathy Williamson’s house.
“I’m alive. But even just being a survivor, I have a lot of things that I’m dealing with now,” Christy Williamson said. “This is going to be a process for me.”