A dog called a hero for alerting her Woodbridge owner to a fire has been found dead in the rubble of the woman's apartment.

Stella, a Woodbridge dog credited with saving her owner from a fire (Helping NJ Animals)

Stella, a mixed breed dog, alerted  owner Ann Marie Kelt with loud barks to a smoky fire inside their apartment on King Georges Road early Friday morning and then went missing  according to MyCentralJersey.com.

Firefighters did not initially find her in the rubble of the fire and neighbors thought they had seen Stella run off.

Rocky Granata, who lives at the apartment with Kelt, wrote on his Facebook page that he found Stella Wednesday, under a blanket, holding Kelt's purse. "Greatest pet ever," wrote Granata of Stella, who was taking medication for cancer which caused her heart to enlarge.

Kelt's daughter Melissa Holden says the vet told her that Stella likely died after breathing in the smoke, according to a MyCentralJersey.com report. "It's closure," Holden told the newspaper. "It's definitely hard. It's not the outcome we had hoped for."

The St. Georges Veterinary Hospital gave the family a keepsake paw print and arranged for Stella's cremation.

Granata and Kelt lost everything in the fire. Donations of clothing, gift cards and cash may be left for them at the Woodbridge Animal Shelter located at 195 Woodbridge Avenue through Tuesday.

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