For 40 years, Keith Walker has been a homeless man. But with his act of bravery in risking his own life to save animals in a burning shelter, his life may change.
Walker, who lives in Georgia, has a best friend name Bravo, a kind-eyed mixed dog.
Bravo is the one constant in Walker’s life these days. With so much uncertainty of his circumstances, Walker made arrangements with Gracie Hamlin, the founder of W-Underdogs, to let Bravo spend his nights at the facility.
On December 18, as Walker, 53, arrived to take Bravo for a walk, he found the shelter engulfed in flame. Without hesitation, Walker rushed into the inferno to save the animals.
“I was nervous as hell, I’m not going to lie. I was really scared to go in there with all that smoke. But God put me there to save those animals,” he told CNN. “If you love a dog, you can love anyone in the world. My dog is my best friend, and I wouldn’t be here without him, so I knew I had to save all those other dogs.”
According to Hamlin, the firefighters at the scene had called animal control to take charge of rescuing the home’s furry residents, but with the fire raging, Walker refused to wait. Scared as he might have been, Walker pulled every one of the animals—six dogs and 10 cats—to safety.
“He is my guardian angel…I can’t thank him enough for saving my animals,” Hamlin said. “I’m still in disbelief… I’ve been around a fire and I know how fast they flare up.”
The fire, which started in the kitchen, ultimately rendered the facility uninhabitable. Fortunately, the animals were already slated to be moved into W-Underdog’s new Atlanta-based facility in a week’s time, and all are doing well.
As word of Walker’s bravery spread, a GoFundMe campaign was launched to make life a little more certain for “The Atlanta Animal Shelter Hero” and his sidekick, Bravo.
So far, more than $50,000 has been raised by donors. Some of the comments:
“…Mr. Walker, you’re an extraordinary gentleman, risking life and limb to save not only dogs, but the cats in the shelter as well, which would have been far more difficult,” commented a donor who made a $50 contribution.
“I can’t wait to see you on the news in a fresh apartment with a new start. You’ve earned it, man.”
“Me, my kitty, and my lizards all wanted to say thank you for your bravery!” said another donor who sent in $15.
That sentiment was echoed by many.
The organizer of the campaign said all the donations will be put towards making a better future for the man who risked his own life to save the lives of helpless animals.
Initially $5,000 was the target. The campaign organizer, Frank Cote, said the donations are still coming in.
To everyone who has contributed to this campaign or any other, you are what makes this world a better place and you make me feel hopeful that we can repair this broken and struggling country.