When Kate Alliott adopted her dog Imogen, she had no idea how valuable she would prove to be.
Just three weeks after joining the family home, the 10-month-old Lurcher alerted her new owner to a burglar and chased him away.
Ms Alliott and her 12-year-old daughter Grace were upstairs in bed when Imogen started barking, which was completely out of character.
Ms Alliott went downstairs to investigate and found both the kitchen door and the garden gate wide open. Venturing outside, she saw a young man sat on her moped – but he ran off when approached.
CCTV footage obtained by the police showed there had in fact been two men in the house that evening.
However, no arrests were made as the would-be thieves, who wore hoodies, could not be identified.
Ms Alliott, 47, said: “I dread to think of what the thieves might have taken if Imogen hadn’t been around. I don’t think I would have even known they’d been in the house until the following morning if it hadn’t been for her.”
She added: “My daughter and I feel so much safer having Imy with us. I don't want to imagine what could have happened if Imogen hadn’t been there. She really is mine and my daughter’s super-dog.”
Ms Alliott, who lives in Fulham, adopted Imogen from Dogs Trust Harefield.
Richard Moore, manager at the re-homing centre, said: “We think all of our dogs are super-dogs but Imogen has gone one step further to demonstrate why she deserves this title.
“We often say that dogs bring so much to our lives and it is safe to say that Imogen can now add security services to her list of skills.
“We’re relieved that Kate and her daughter Grace weren’t hurt during the break-in and thankful that any potential plans the burglars had were cut short after Imogen detected them in her house. She has proved herself to be a great asset to the Alliott house.”
Dogs Trust was founded in 1891 and is the largest dog welfare charity in the UK, with 19 re-homing centres across the country.
The Harefield branch, in Harvil Road, cares for around 120 dogs at any given time.