Dogs are often seen as natural protectors of their pack, and will defend their territory loyally.
But that instinctual loyalty is elevated to heroism in the eyes of society when a canine sacrifices itself to save its human family.
For Ray Dawson, having witnessed that experience was a moment that will remain with him forever.
His neighbor’s home across the street in Dinwiddie County, Virginia, caught fire one night, while the family’s 10-year-old boy was home alone on Jan. 18.
Luckily for the boy, his family’s two dogs dashed into the fire and saved his life. Both dogs failed to make it out of the flames themselves, however, and later perished.
The neighbor helped the boy and called 911, but it might’ve been too late for the child if it weren’t for the family’s dogs.
Dawson told ABC that the boy and his family moved in across the street two years prior.
The boy, who had been roused awake, went and knocked loudly on Dawson’s door around 6:00 a.m. Monday, covered in soot.
“We got to the door and he said ‘my house is on fire,’” Dawson said. “I could see fire through the window.”
Dawson immediately called 911 and cared for the boy until paramedics arrived.
In tears, Dawson said, “It felt like it was my place burning.” He and his wife had lived in that home for 12 years before moving across the street.
The boy was treated for smoke inhalation before being taken to Southside Regional Medical Center for additional treatment.
According to Dinwiddle Fire & EMS, heavy smoke was pouring out of the home when crews arrived.
“Crews immediately began knocking down the fire and entering the structure to conduct a primary search,” they wrote in a press statement.
“Unfortunately, during the search of the structure two dogs were located deceased. Prior to transport by EMS, the occupant was able to tell crews that he was asleep at the time of the fire and that the two dogs had jumped on him to wake him up, which then allowed him to escape the fire.”
Dawson told ABC it was painful to know that the little boy’s home of two years was no more.
“I hope he’s doing okay,” Dawson added.
The boy’s family told the news agency that he had been released from the hospital and was recovering.