Zippy the Jack Russell Terrier was adopted from an animal shelter about four years ago by Leon Butler and his family, from Bradenton, Florida.
The little black-and-white dog was always alert: “He would let me know if someone was outside,” Leon recalled to FOX 13.
In the early hours of September 17, about 2 am, disaster struck the family home. A fire broke out in the attic, and began spreading rapidly throughout the home.
It devastated the home so fast that they barely heard the fire alarm before it was destroyed in the flames: “It only lasted a short ‘beep beep’ and then it was already on fire. It was gone,” Leon said.
That’s when Zippy stepped up to save the day. The dog ran throughout the engulfed home, barking loud to alert Leon’s children and father of the emergency.
And it’s a good thing he did: the family was just barely able to escape the home as it rapidly collapsed around them.
“The floor was on fire,” Leon told Bay News 9. “See, it was on fire once I went and got the kids… I’m running through fire trying to get them out of there.”
“By the time we got from the hallway door to the kitchen right here, that whole ceiling dropped,” he said. “It went black and flames come out the roof and all the windows start blowing out.”
The family made it out safely thanks to Zippy’s alarm… but sadly, the dog didn’t make it out. While Leon tried save him, the fire and smoke were too bad to go back into the home.
“The floor in the living room was all on fire so there was nowhere for him to run out,” he told FOX 13. “Even if the smoke was this high. He was a short little dog. There was nowhere for him to go.”
Firefighters arrived and were able to get the fire under control, and the family was assisted by the Red Cross, according to the City of Bradenton Fire Department. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.
It’s a sad story: the family lost their home, their dog, and most of their possessions, and will have to find a way to move forward: “We just got to start from the ground up again,” Leon told Bay News 9. “Got to rebuild.”
But the important thing is that they’re all safe. Zippy gave his life to help save his family, but his sacrifice was not in vain.
“He was real helpful and we’re going to miss him,” Leon said.
Let’s all pay our respects to this heroic dog. Share this story!