updated 1/6/2009 10:31:59 PM ET 2009-01-07T03:31:59

Jolene Solomon is beginning the new year with her life, her mule named Lou and little else. The Southern Standard in McMinnville reported Solomon had just finished eating supper on New Year's Day when Lou's braying and acting up got her attention.

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Solomon, 63, who lived alone, stepped outside, she saw her house was on fire. She called 911 and as she waited for firefighters, her home and everything in it burned to the ground.

She said her father bought Lou years ago to help her and her late sister, Blue, around the farm. It took Lou months to get over the loss of her sister.

Solomon said she has "lost it all," but credits Lou with saving her life.

Jolene is staying with family members and plans to rebuild her home. The home was built by her grandfather and she had lived there all her life.

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