Man Experiencing Homelessness Rescues Every Animal From a Burning Shelter

Keith Walker and W-Underdogs

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!

You can donate to help Walker here and support W-Underdogs here.

53-year-old Keith Walker saved six dogs and 10 cats from W-Underdogs animal shelter when it was engulfed in flames.

Keith Walker and Dog

Walker is experiencing homelessness, but his own dog is allowed to stay at the shelter every night.

Hand Caressing Pitbull

When he walked past the shelter, he discovered the fire and rushed inside to save the animals.

Keith Walker and Dog

The fire destroyed the shelter's kitchen and left it uninhabitable.

W-Underdogs Animal Shelter After Fire

W-Underdogs Burned in Fire

Fire Truck in Street

Luckily, all pets are now safe in their new facility.

Man with Mask and Dog at New Animal Shelter

Dogs at Shelter

Dogs in Shelter

W-Underdogs: Website | Facebook | Instagram
h/t: [I Heart Dogs]

All images via W-Underdogs.

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9-Year-Old Achieves Dream of Starting a No-Kill Animal Shelter in His Garage

Emma Taggart

Emma Taggart is a Contributing Writer at My Modern Met. Originally from Northern Ireland, she is an artist now based in Berlin. After graduating with a BA in Fashion and Textile Design in 2013, Emma decided to combine her love of art with her passion for writing. Emma has contributed to various art and culture publications, with an aim to promote and share the work of inspiring modern creatives. While she writes every day, she’s also devoted to her own creative outlet—Emma hand-draws illustrations and is currently learning 2D animation.
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