No one knows how they’ll react to an emergency until the unthinkable happens.
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Janet Kelly and her fiance, DaQuan Davis, were out shopping one afternoon when DaQuan’s brother called in a panic. Some children playing with a lighter in the downstairs apartment of the Detroit, Michigan apartment building where they lived had started a fire, and the whole house was up in flames. Worse yet, Janet’s two youngest children were still inside.
“He was like, ‘The house is on fire, you need to get home,'” Janet recalled. “My heart just dropped.”
The family of six lived in the upstairs unit along with their pit bull, Blue, and their cat, Smokey. DaQuan’s brother Demetrius was babysitting 4-year-old Isabella and 14-month-old Shantel when the fire broke out, and he immediately rushed to evacuate the family and pets.
By the time Janet and DaQuan arrived with 9-year-old Zoey and 7-Year-old Chloe in the car, the house was an inferno. For over 20 agonizing minutes, they feared their youngest daughters had perished in the blaze.
When they finally reunited with Demetrius and learned their daughters were safe, they were weak with relief.
“I’ve never been so relieved,” said Janet. “My babies were OK.”
That’s when Janet learned that their dog Blue had played a big role in rescuing their youngest daughter. Demetrius rescued Isabella first, but when he went back for Shantel in her playpen, the smoke was thick and debris was falling all around him.
The man didn’t realize that Blue had followed him back into the burning house until the dog started to bark. When firefighters entered, they followed the sounds of Blue’s barks to locate the child.
“He was circling around her and barking,” Janet said. “And he wouldn’t leave until she was out.”
The house was a total loss just one hour after it caught fire. With no rental insurance, the family was homeless and had to live in their minivan for six long days. They own a lawn service company, and their equipment was destroyed in the fire as well.
“We still have to find housing and buy clothing,” said Janet. “We lost absolutely everything. I worked so hard to have my own company, and now I’m looking at fast food jobs.”
In desperation, they set up a GoFundMe to help with the expense of finding a new home, which has now exceeded $105,000!
Someone gave the family access to an Airbnb for the whole month of March, but they’re still looking for suitable housing for the long term. Even so, they’re counting their blessings for getting out alive, and they’re especially grateful for Blue.
“He’s the sweetest dog,” Janet said. “Pit bulls have a reputation for being aggressive. But I think it comes down to the way they were raised. Dogs are not born wanting to bite people. Blue will bark at strangers, but once he knows you’re OK, he’ll drop onto his back for belly rubs.”
Apparently, Blue has become a bit of a fire marshall for the family. He starts barking whenever someone lights a match nearby! Blue, you’re the ultimate good boy.
Share this story to wish the family well as they rebuild their lives.
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