Millions of animal lovers celebrated National Love Your Pets Day earlier this week.
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One Washington family, however, has another reason to celebrate their unconditional love for their beloved dog, a German sheperd named Rex.
His 16-year-old owner Javier Mercado was home alone Wednesday when two people broke into the house. Rex sacrificed himself to save the day, taking a beating and three bullets for Javier.
Two intruders broke into the Mercado’s home in Des Moines, Washington, in the middle of the afternoon, King 5 News reports.
Javier hid in a bedroom closet and called 911, while holding Rex, family member Susy Cadena said on a GoFundMe page.
That’s when the two-year-old German shepherd jumped into action.
Rex confronted the intruders, who beat him bloody. The canine then retreated back to the closet with Mercado while the vandals ransacked the house room by room, Cadena said.
When the two reached the teen’s hideout, Rex’s instinct to protect took over again.
“Rex came out with the little strength he had left in him and threw himself at them as he knew my nephew was in danger,” Cadena wrote.
Rex was shot at least three times, she said. He was no longer barking.
Sounds of sirens in the distance chased the intruders off and help finally arrived, the station reports. The robbers remain at large.
“I thought he was dead for sure. I broke down,” Mercado, who hid in the closet for nearly an hour, told King 5.
The German shepherd’s fight isn’t over.
He had been shot in the neck and hind legs and was rushed to an emergency pet hospital called BluePearl Veterinary Partners in Renton.
Rex underwent scans, x-rays and other treatment to stabilize his condition before a life-saving surgery, according to the station.
The Mercado family went from relief to worry as they wondered how would they be able to afford Rex’s treatment.
They needed thousands of dollars for his surgery scheduled for Friday, the GoFundMe page said.
‘If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t be here today’
So, they reached out for help and started the GoFundMe in the hopes of saving Rex.
“Our family can not let Rex the hero dog go without us fighting as hard as he did, to his very last bit of a strength while protecting my nephew,” Cadena wrote on the fundraiser.
Friends, family and the community have donated more than $36,000, blowing past the initial goal of $10K.
“We have exceeded the goal and we just wanted to assure you that all the money will go toward Rex’s medical expenses and his recovery,” Cadena clarified. “Anything left will be donated to institutions and organizations whose mission is to protect our loved pets.”.
It is a small debt to pay for Rex’s act of “unconditional, loving instinct.”.
“I feel like if it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t be here today telling you this story,” Mercado told King 5.
People on social media are hailing Rex as a hero and wishing him a speedy recovery:.