The happy mother of two children, Julia Buchin lives near Kiev in the Ukraine. She's loved dogs her whole life and can't imagine living without them. In fact, she's always taking in strays, having transformed her home over the years into a refuge for street dogs. She provides them a safe home where they can recover while she searches for loving new owners for them.
One dog in particular stands out, a Rottweiler caller Kira. When Julia found her four years ago, Kira was almost blind and sick from having eaten rat poison. It wasn't clear whether she would survive but Julia did everything she could to help Kira get better. In the end, she made it. Despite some limitations and terrible past experiences, Kira is a loving, lively dog, ready to protect her family, human and canine, from any danger. And this isn't metaphorical: Kira had a chance to demonstrate her courage and caring instincts.
One night Julia awoke with a sharp pain in her hand. In the darkness, it took her a moment to figure out what was going on. When she looked down she was surprised to see Kira's teeth sunk into her hand. Why would this sweet creature attack her like that? Only a few seconds later she understood why and still gets chills down her back, thinking about it today.
Julia smelled smoke. Her house was going up in flames.
She leapt out of bed, woke up her children, and sent them outside. She gathered her most important documents and let the dogs out, Kira close on her heels the whole time.
Panicking, the animals weren't finding their way outside though. Then Julia saw Kira dive into the flames, emerging shortly after that carrying another dog between her jaws. The other pup had gone the wrong way and Kira was bringing it out to safety. Before Julia could stop her, Kira went back in to save another of her fellow housepets.
When the fire truck arrived, Julia, her family, and 10 dogs were all safely outside the burning house. But Julia was worried about Kira, who had suffered serious burns and was clearly in pain. They went to stay with relatives for awhile where Julia was able to give Kira the special attention she needed.
The event made its way into the national media and Kira was lauded as the heroine she is. After Ukrainian television broadcast the story, Julia began to receive help from all over the country. Dedicated fellow citizens sent her dog food, clothing, and financial support.
The video reporting is in Ukrainian but totally worth watching to see Kira's beautiful spirit up close:
Kira is clearly a special dog. Without her, it's hard to say what tragedy could have unfolded that night. Instead, she followed her heart, and her nose, and won hearts across the globe. h/t http://www.hefty.co