"He saved our lives"
July 15, 2010, 6:48PM MT
By Lani Baroody, Best Friends Network volunteer
A 7-year-old pit bull terrier named Thor is being called a hero after
alerting his owners to the fire and attempting to pull their 3-month-old
daughter's bassinet out of harm's way.
Most family pets earn rewards for good behavior, following directions or
learning a new command ... Thor, a pit bull terrier from Bristol,
Indiana, deserved every bite of his reward (a big t-bone) when he saved
his family from an early morning fire that began in their home while
Shortly after 3:00 a.m., Kemper Hunter and his girlfriend Sarah Laughlin
were sound asleep - that is, until Thor hopped onto the bed and began
jumping on them.
Laughlin, shown left, shows Thor much deserved love after rescuing their
family from fire.
Annoyed, at first, the couple tried to go back to sleep. That is, until
"He bit me! Not hard, but he's never bit me before. So, I jumped up,"
said Hunter, "When I looked down the hall, I saw the fire and he had
already dragged the [baby's] bassinet to the front door."
After waking the couple, the heroic pup pulled the bassinet, carrying
3-month-old Shelby Hunter, closer to an escape route and closer to
"He saved our lives," said a very grateful Hunter.
Thor may have rescued the family, but it is Hunter who originally
Seven years ago, Hunter found a female pit bull terrier chained to a
fence. No one was feeding or caring for her, so he took her in. Not long
after, she died while giving birth to a litter of puppies. One of those
puppies was Thor.
Hunter has trained him to watch over the family's home and be a
child-friendly pet, but Thor's reaction to the fire was not a learned
"He just knew what to do," said Hunter.
The family is safe and doing as well as can be after such a harrowing
ordeal, but their home was severely damaged.
Bristol Fire Department Assistant Chief Nick Kantz estimated the damage
to the family's home to be $10,000, as reported by The Elkhart Truth
Following the fire, the Elkhart County Red Cross
provided a pet-friendly hotel room for
the family for three nights.
"After that, my uncle and his wife were generous enough to allow us to
stay with them while we look for a new house," said Hunter.
Unfortunately, finding a new home is not an easy task for pit bull
terrier guardians in Elkhart County, Indiana - a proposed "pit bull" ban
fell one vote short of being passed by the Elkhart City Council, earlier
Thor, shown right, is smiling now that his family is safe!
Though they have inquired about moving into several homes, Hunter and
Laughlin continue to be turned down, as many places do not allow pit
bull terriers to be kept as pets.
In the meantime, the couple feels lucky to have received such an
outpouring of support.
Hunter and Laughlin have been receiving donations (through the Red
Cross) from all over the country.
"So many people are donating baby stuff, which really helps," said
Hunter, "Somebody from Florida even sent Thor a toy, a treat, a scarf
and a poster-award."
To watch the WSBT-TV news report about Thor and his family, please click
To read the Elkhart Truth's article about the proposed "pit bull" ban,
please click here