A Virginia family of five is calling their foster dog a hero for saving them from a marina fire that destroyed multiple boats, including their houseboat.
Christopher Cushna, Shiela Janes and their children took in a Great Pyrenees named Moose, or Moosie, as part of the Portsmouth Humane Society’s program “Paws Around Portsmouth.”
The program pairs community members with a shelter dog for a “field trip” that can last a few hours or a few days.
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“What I like to think about is we saved Moose from the situation Moose was in, and Moose definitely saved us on the boat,” Cushna said.
The family showed Moose around town last Saturday, advertising that the dog needed a forever home.
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Cushna says they met a potential owner at the market, but she couldn’t adopt Moose that day.
So, the family brought Moose to their houseboat at the Tidewater Yacht Marina and then went to sleep. Their unexpected night with Moose was crucial, Cushna says.
As the family slept, the boat in the slip next to theirs caught fire early Sunday. The flames were spreading to their boat.
The family had only just taken in Moose a day before their houseboat caught on fire. Credit: WTKR via CNN
Moose got up early and woke the family up, too. They noticed smoke billowing from the neighbouring boat and were able to make their way past the burning boat to safety.
“If Moose was not there, at the very least, it would have been an emergency evacuation. I could have seen us having to dive into the waters. And it would have surprised us, too. What Moose was able to do was eliminate the surprise,” Cushna said.
The family lost their houseboat, but they say Moose saved their lives.
A fundraiser has been set up to help those who lost their boats and belongings in the marina fire. Credit: WTKR via CNN
Just three hours after the fire, the dog was adopted by the person they met at the market.
The family says they would like to foster again in the future, while Moose is getting lots of love at his new home.
As the community comes together to help those impacted by the fire, the Portsmouth Olde Towne Farmers Market has set up a GoFundMe for the family of five.
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