CNN – Keith Walker, 53, rushed into the W-Underdogs shelter on December 18 after a fire engulfed its kitchen.
“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 told CNN. “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.”
While the shelter was not completely destroyed, the fire left it uninhabitable, according to W-Underdogs founder Gracie Hamlin.
Luckily, W-Underdogs was only a week away from moving into its new facility in Atlanta, where the animals now reside.
“He is my guardian angel,” Hamlin told CNN. “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.”
Hamlin previously knew Walker, who has been homeless since he was 13 years old, because she lets him keep his dog, a pitbull named Bravo, at the shelter every night.
Walker was on his way to pick up Bravo and take him for a walk when he saw the fire. He was able to rescue all the animals — six dogs and 10 cats.
“I can’t thank him enough for saving my animals,” Hamlin said. “I’m still in disbelief, because I’ve been around a fire and I know how fast they flare up. He is my hero.”