By CBSLA Staff

TEMPLE CITY (CBSLA) — Three-year-old Angel became part of a Temple City family a couple of years ago when she was adopted by James Hardan and his wife.

Three-year-old Angel saved her owners this week when she alerted them to an intruder in their Temple City home. (CBSLA)

“I protect her, and she protects me,” Hardan said.

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But this week, the rescued pup became the rescuer when the normally sweet and calm Maltese spotted an intruder in their home.

According to the 69-year-old, Angel woke up him early Monday morning by jumping on his chest before running back into the kitchen of the home.

“Within about 30 seconds, she came back, jumped up on the bed, put her paws on my chest, and started tapping and growling,” Hardan said.

The Vietnam veteran, whose wife was still asleep in bed, went into self-defense mode after getting up and seeing a person standing in the doorway of their bedroom.

The person then walked toward the bathroom, giving Hardan time to go to another room to grab his gun before returning to the bathroom.

“I pushed it open, pointed the weapon at his head and told him, ‘Do not move. I will blow you away,'” Hardan said. “He said, ‘I’m your son’s friend.'”

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Hardan said he held the man at gunpoint until deputies arrived and took him into custody.

According to Hardan, the man would have had to scale three locked gates and get through a locked side door before being able to get into the home.

“I knew he was definitely not in his right mind,” he said.

Hardan, who served in the U.S. Army Special Forces during the Vietnam War, became emotional talking about how he could have taken the man’s life because of his wartime experience.

“The only thing that stopped me from pulling the trigger was the fact that I said that could be somebody’s daddy,” he said. “And I didn’t want to leave a child homeless.”

The proud veteran said it was his duty to serve and protect his country, something he believes Angel has now done for him and his wife.

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“She took care of the ones who loved her,” Hardan said. “She’s got a special place in my heart, and she’s done a great job. She’s done a great job, I was very proud of her.”