Keith Walker admits he was “nervous as hell” when he stepped into the fire. But he was a man with a purpose: he wanted to save dogs and cats trapped in a fire at an Atlanta animal shelter.
“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.”
Man’s best friend is a common theme we all hear. But it resonates more profoundly with Walker:
He is homeless. Now 53 and struggling with addiction issues, he has been homeless since he was 13.
A child of the streets is often wise to what needs to be done. And that’s exactly what happened when Walker rushed into the W-Underdogs shelter after the kitchen caught fire on December 18. He was able to rescue 10 cats and six dogs.
“He is my guardian angel,” W-Underdogs founder Gracie 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.”
Walker knew exactly what he had to do.
“I was nervous as hell, I’m not going to lie,” he said.
Hamlin and Walker had already bonded because Hamlin lets Walker keep his dog, a Pitbull named Bravo, at the shelter every night.
Serendipitously, Walker was on his way to pick up Bravo when he saw the fire and went into rescue mode.
“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.”