On December 18, 2020, a fire destroyed the kitchen at W-Underdogs animal shelter in Atlanta, Georgia. There were six dogs and 10 cats living there that were trapped inside. Luckily, a 53-year-old man experiencing homelessness named Keith Walker went by and discovered the shelter up in flames. He immediately rushed inside and saved every single pet.
“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,” Walker recalls. “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.”
Walker was already familiar with the shelter, as his own dog—a pitbull named Bravo—stays there every night. Walker—who has been experiencing homelessness since age 13—met W-Underdogs founder Gracie Hamlin several years ago. Not only did she provide food and shelter for his dog, but she also gave Walker various jobs at the shelter. Walker was on his way to collect Bravo and take him for a walk when he discovered the fire. “He is my guardian angel,” Hamlin says. “Even the firefighters didn't want to handle the dogs. They called animal control, but Keith was already in the building pulling out the cats and dogs until they were all safe.”
While the shelter wasn’t completely destroyed by the fire, it was no longer safe for the animals to live there. Luckily, W-Underdogs was already able to move into a new facility in Atlanta, where the animals were brought to safety. Hamlin and the other staff members at the shelter now call Walker their “guardian angel,” and have promised to do what they can to help him. “I can't thank him enough for saving my animals,” Hamlin says. “I'm still in disbelief, because I've been around a fire and I know how fast they flare up. He is my hero.”
W-Underdogs set up a GoFundMe page, where people can donate money to Walker. As of writing, the campaign has raised over $55,000! Some people who donated also wrote comments, thanking Walker for his bravery. One person wrote, “I am sitting here crying because of the extreme bravery and love this man has shared with the animals. It would be unjust to NOT help this angel out.” We couldn’t agree more!
53-year-old Keith Walker saved six dogs and 10 cats from W-Underdogs animal shelter when it was engulfed in flames.
Walker is experiencing homelessness, but his own dog is allowed to stay at the shelter every night.
When he walked past the shelter, he discovered the fire and rushed inside to save the animals.
The fire destroyed the shelter's kitchen and left it uninhabitable.
Luckily, all pets are now safe in their new facility.