It’s always heartbreaking when a pet goes missing, but it’s important not to give up hope: sometimes pets return to our lives in the most unexpected ways, after being found in the most unexpected places.
That was the remarkable story for one family, who reunited with their missing dog after he saved another family’s lives from a fire.
The Golloway family of Big Stone Gap, Virginia, recently became friends with a dog they called “Butter,” an apparent stray who made himself at home on their property.
“He just showed up one day, and never left,” mother-of-two Charity Golloway told WJHL.
They made Butter a dog shelter outside their home — and their kindness was soon rewarded, on a night when Butter stepped up to save their lives.
An electric lamp the family gave Butter for warmth suddenly caught fire, and the flames were quickly spreading from the dog shelter to the family’s home.
It was just after 2 AM, so the family was asleep, unable to notice the fast-growing fire threatening their home and safety. Luckily, Butter started barking to wake them up.
According to WJHL, the dog’s barking alerted them to the danger before any fire alarms went off, saving them precious moments and allowing them to react in time.
“The flames just got big really fast,” Charity recalled. “It’s overwhelming actually how fast it happened.”
Charity’s son was able to put out the fire with a hose before it got any bigger. Butter’s quick intervention saved the family from severe property damage, or worse.
“If it wasn’t for him, who knows what could’ve happened,” Charity said. “It could’ve been way worse… He knew something wasn’t right and that someone needed to know. He’s a smart dog.”
Firefighters arrived on the scene, and agreed that the dog crucially helped save the day: “If wasn’t for that dog, that house would’ve been lit up all throughout the ceiling, and we would’ve been there for hours fighting that house,” firefighter Justin Stidham told WJHL.
The firefighters also played with Butter afterwards, and said he was “nice as could be.”
But that was just the first part of this miraculous story. A photo of Butter and the firefighters went viral online, sharing his heroic story with the world.
And among the people it reached was Butter’s family!
It turns out the thought-to-be-stray dog called Butter was actually a lost family pet named Cooper.
Butter/Cooper was finally reunited with his family, a bittersweet ending to the story for the Golloway who have to part ways with their hero dog, but they plan to keep in touch in the future (and reportedly served him a big steak as a parting gift.)
And they’ll always be grateful for the night he saved their home and lives: “I’m really grateful for that stray dog that wandered up into my yard,” Charity said.
What an incredible story. Thank you to “Butter” for saving this family from a fire — we’re so glad it led to you returning home to your family.
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