The loyalty attributed to man's best friendâdogâis well documented throughout history. Ralph, a four-year-old Great Dane from Shelby County, Alabama, proved why this bond between the two species has transcended time when he saved the life of his entire family from a fire that swept through their home on Tuesday.
Ralph, who belongs to the Walker family, began barking in the middle of the night to alert his family who was asleep as a fire began spreading across their Caldwell Mill Lane home. The faithful canine's timely action saved the lives of Derek Walker, his wife Maria Gilbert, and their children aged 12 and 9.
Saving His Family from a Terrible Fate
The gentle giant began barking at around 2:30 am on Tuesday. "He was in his kennel inside the house and we heard him barking,'' AL.com quoted Walker as saying. "He usually doesn't make a sound at night. And it was a different kind of bark."
Upon hearing Ralph's barks, Walker woke up and stepped out to investigate. Suddenly, he heard a noise in the kitchen and moved towards it. As he did, he noticed flames outside the kitchen window. Walker narrated: "I just started screaming 'fire' to get everybody up. My wife got up and she got our daughter and got her out."
Walker said that his wife, who rushed to grab their son from his room in the lowest level of the split-level home, informed him that their son's room was filled with smoke. He added, "The fire was right outside his wall. He wasn't awake because he sleeps covered with his blanket." They managed to get him outside his room.
Being Saved By His Dad
Next, Walker rushed back inside to rescue Ralph and their two miniature pigs. Unfortunately, he was unable to get into the sunroom where the pigs were, due to heavy smoke. While he was able to coax one of them out, the family learnt later that the other pigâPearlâhad sadly succumbed to the fire. Walker rescued Ralph from the kennel and all of them made it out on time.
Ralph's human family had made it out in the nick of time solely because of his prompt intimation as the smoke alarms went off only after a long delay. "There was so much smoke I don't know if we would have made it out,'' Walker said.
Without A Home, But Together
The authorities who arrived at the rear of the blazing house by 2:29 p.m, received the first call at 2:25 a.m. Robert Lawson, Battalion Chief of the North Shelby Fire Department, said that it is likely that fire arose at the grill and spread to the house rapidly. The home, which the family rents, has burnt down and most of their material possessions have perished. However, according to Walker, their Valleydale Church family has been extremely supportive.
Nevertheless, the Walker family is thankful to their four-legged friend for saving their lives. Expressing his gratitude, Walker said, "Without Ralph, I don't think we would have made it. I don't think my son would have made it." Seconding Walker's statement, Battalion Chief Lawson added, "We could have had injuries or fatalities." He concluded, "As an animal lover, we are very thankful for Ralph."