Homeless Atlanta-Man Rescues All Animals from Burning Shelter

Homeless Atlanta-Man Rescues All Animals from Burning Shelter

Homeless Atlanta-Man Rescues All Animals from Burning Shelter

Everyday Heroes, Featured Articles

As a man who faced homelessness since the age of 13, Keith Walker knows the value of beloved possessions. Out of everything Walker has carried with him throughout life, his dog Bravo is by far the thing he loves most in this world.

Walker is fully aware that his uncertain situation might not bode the best life for a dog, however. As a result, he worked out a plan with the founder of W-Underdogs, Gracie Hamlin, that allows Bravo to spend his night at the facility, ensuring the pup’s safety.

December 18 was supposed to be like any other day. Walker made his way to the shelter to take his beloved Bravo for a walk first thing in the morning, only to find the facility engulfed in flame.

Keith Walker and Bravo. Credit: Daily Mail

“I was nervous as hell, I’m not going to lie,” he tells CNN. “I was really scared to go in there with all that smoke. But God put me there to save those animals. 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.”

Firefighters at the scene assured Walker they called animal control to come help with the animals, but to Walker, time wasted waiting could mean lives lost. So, he took matters into his own hands and rushed inside.

“I was nervous as hell, I’m not going to lie,” he tells CNN. “I was really scared to go in there with all that smoke. But God put me there to save those animals. 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.”

His selflessness resulted in the rescuing of six dogs and 10 cats– all of the animals currently at the shelter. Thanks to his quick action, the animals are all okay. While the fire garnered the shelter uninhabitable, W-Underdogs was in the process of moving to a new facility, so the animals had a place to be.

W-Underdogs post-fire. Credit: CNN.

“I can’t thank him enough for saving my animals,” says Hamlin. “I’m still in disbelief, because I’ve been around a fire and I know how fast they flare up. He is my hero.”

The story of Keith Walker’s bravery has reached far and wide over the course of two weeks. To make life a bit more stable for Walker and Bravo, a GoFundMe campaign was launched.  The goal was $5,000, a lifechanging number for a man who has been homeless for 40 years.

In just three days, the amount donated to Keith Walker’s cause has far exceeded the donation goal. As of December 30, $55,072 has been raised. With the rate that donations come it, it seems that Walker will finally be able to live a more comfortable life than he probably ever imagined being able to live. 

Walker with one of the dogs he rescued.

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About The Author

Cassandra Ledger

Cassandra Ledger, a graduate of Florida State University's School of English, is a writer based in Wellington, Florida. She enjoys baking, art, and music when she is not writing about people and places that inspire her.