Man’s Best Friend

Image: WXLE

If you’ve ever owned a dog, you know that they truly are “man’s best friend.”  The bond is deep, the emotional connection unlike any other. In fact, the connection between a human and their canine companion is much deeper than friendship.

A Sickening Attack

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When a Florida family found their lives threatened by a brutal attack, their pit bull who was only 9-months-old put his life on the line to save them. However, in order to return the favor, the family was faced with a heartbreaking decision…

The Community Steps In

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Thankfully, their local community heard about the pit bull’s heroism and decided to step in. You won’t believe this family’s story of terror, redemption and community support.

A Strange Noise

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It was 2 AM on the morning of September 26, 2013, when Trevor and the rest of his family woke to their pit bull Onyx barking downstairs. At first, he thought it could possibly be another dog on the street, but when the barking persisted, he knew it was coming from their house.

Onyx the Rescue Pit

Image: Gloucester County

The family had rescued Onyx a few months before. A 9-month-old pit bull, Onyx had been living on the streets before Trevor and his family had come to his rescue. Thankful for his new family and despite his rough past, Onyx was extremely well-behaved, which is why this night time barking worried Trevor.

The Red Flag

Image: A Year of Being Here

Despite sleeping outside in his crate on the back patio, Onyx never barked at night or made any type of sound. The fact his barking was so incessant was very out of character for the sweet pooch.

Besides that, Onyx was barking in a way that sent chills down his spine…

The Terrifying Sound

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Describing the sound to the local media, Trevor revealed it was more like a “shrill yelp,” than a normal bark. Realizing something was definitely “off” he climbed out of bed and peered out the window.

It was then he realized why Trevor was in such an agitated state.

Up in Flames

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Trevor was shocked to discover that the home’s back porch was completely engulfed in flames, including Onyx’s crate. With no time to waste, Trevor bolted down the stairs to save his dog and his home.

He only hoped he wasn’t too late.

Grabbing the Hose

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Trevor’s first instinct was to run for the hose. He immediately began to spray Onyx’s kennel, extinguishing the flames that were burning his poor dog.

Unfortunately, this was just the beginning of Trevor’s problems.

Rapidly Spreading

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The fire had rapidly spread to other parts of the home. Once he made sure Onyx was out of danger, Trevor began to use the house on the other parts of the house. Sadly, the flames were engulfing parts of the house faster than Trevor could take them out.

Fleeing the House

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As Trevor battled the flames outside, inside his fiance Sierra was busy escaping the house with her two sons. Through the thick smoke and intense heat, she managed to get her sons to safety.

However, it was a very close call.

Too Close of a Call

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“I honestly do feel like if Onyx wasn’t out there, even though it’s unfortunate, anything could have happened,” Sierra explained. “Once the fire got up to my son’s room, we wouldn’t have been able to go up there and get the kids out…”

Memories Up in Flames

Image: CBS

As firefighters arrived on the scene, the fire continued to rage on. Thankfully, they were able to put out the fire before it completely destroyed Trevor and Sierra’s home. Unfortunately, the damage already was done and was going to be costly.

An Unfortunate Expense

It was determined that the damage to the home they were renting was over $5,000. It didn’t help that the family didn’t have renter’s insurance to cover it. However, the house and their valuables were not important. They had other matters on their minds…

Rushed to the Vet

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Even though Trevor and Sierra were thankful their family was safe, they were worried about Onyx who was being rushed to the Tallahassee Animal Service Center.

Knowing he had been burned pretty bad, they wondered if he would survive his extensive injuries.

A Grim Diagnosis

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The vet revealed to the family that Onyx had burned 30% of his body. He would require extensive treatment and unfortunately, this meant a very high vet bill.

Saving Onyx

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The shelter revealed that Onyx would need to stay at the clinic for several weeks for treatments, antibiotics, and multiple medications in order to survive. When the vet revealed the estimated cost, Trevor and Sierra were heartbroken.

There was no way they could pay to save their precious pooch.

Stricken with Grief

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“We were at our wits’ end. We were going to give him up because we didn’t have money for treatment,” said Sierra.

Defeated, Trevor and Sierra knew the only thing they could do for Onyx was put him down.

The staff at the animal shelter knew the family was not in the position to pay for all of Onyx’s treatments and felt for them. When they realized they were considering euthanasia, they asked the family to hold onto their hope.

Could someone come to this family’s aid?

A Goal of Life

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“Our goal is to help pets stay in their homes with their families,” Dr. Rachel Barton, Animal Services Veterinarian, said. “Given the traumatic event this family had just experienced, we knew we needed to do whatever we could to help them keep Onyx at home.”

A Kind Soul

Image: Northwood Animal Hospital

Wanting to help Trevor and Sierra, the vet clinic staff reached out to Dr. Kevin Brumfield, a vet who worked at the Northwood Animal Hospital. He agreed to help Onyx and even set up a Facebook page to raise money for his treatments.

Once Onyx’s story was shared on social media it soon went viral. Donations began to pour in for the wounded pooch as strangers and the community came to the burned dog’s rescue.

Amazed By the Support

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“The support that we have received for Onyx has brought me so many wonderful chills!” Dr. Morgan Guoan wrote, completely blown away by the number of people helping their cause. “Thank you to all for the wonderful smile in my heart and for the most beautiful love, light and energy all of you are sending. Onyx is wagging his tail for you! Thank you for that!”

The Treatment He Deserves

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People from the community and around the world donated over $15,000 for Onyx’s life-saving treatments. Sierra and Trevor were beyond grateful, thrilled that their precious pooch was getting the treatment he deserved.

Investigation Begins

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An investigation into why the fire started began while Onyx was being treated. The police investigators soon realized that the fire was started deliberately.

Who would want to hurt Trevor and his family?

Cold Case

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According to investigators, the unknown arsonist dumped gasoline onto Onyx’s crate and the porch before igniting the fire. Unfortunately, despite the gas tank being left at the scene, there was little evidence to go on for the investigation.

Who Would Do This?

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“Onyx is not a human, but he’s still a part of our family. They hurt someone in our family. Almost killed someone in our family. And almost killed us,” said Sierra. “Who would do something like this? Why would someone do something like this? What would make someone so angry or so mad?”

Never Found

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Despite their best efforts, the attacker who started the fire was never found, leaving Trevor and his family to live in fear.

“I’m always worried. Every little sound we’re looking out the window,” Sierra said. “If the motion lights come on, we’re checking around the house. I just wish things would have turned out differently for them to have found the person, but I can’t sit here and say they’ll never find him. Things happen…”

A Recovery Miracle

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Thankfully, there was a light in the darkness of it all. Onyx made a full recovery and was able to return home. Even though he was missing fur and almost lost his eye to an infection, he had pushed through and was back to being a happy and healthy dog.

Forever Grateful

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“From seeing him that day until now, it’s like wow. I didn’t think he could ever get this far back,” Trevor stated. “We’re very thankful, he’s our hero. If he was not outside and we had decided to have him sleep inside that night, we wouldn’t have gotten up and God only knows what would have happened.”

We’re sure Onyx and his family are going to have a very happy life together!