Houseboat fire thwarted by foster dog, rescuing sleeping family of five

A Virginia family is hailing their foster dog as a hero after the canine played a pivotal role in saving them from a devastating fire that engulfed their houseboat.

The family had taken in a Great Pyrenees named Moose through the Portsmouth Humane Society’s “Paws Around Portsmouth” program. This initiative allows people to temporarily care for an adoptable dog and take them to local events. Chris Cushna and Sheila Janes, along with their three children, had brought Moose to a market in hopes of finding him a permanent home. Despite encountering a potential owner, the adoption couldn’t be finalized that day.

Returning to their houseboat at the Tidewater Yacht Marina, the family settled in for the night with Moose. In the dark hours, an adjacent boat caught fire. It was at this critical juncture that Moose sprang into action. The vigilant dog woke the family and alerted them to the imminent danger, as smoke permeated from the neighboring vessel.

Janes emphasized the significance of Moose’s swift response, stating, “Those were critical minutes. It happened so quickly and, at that point, every second counts.”

Thanks to Moose’s timely alert, the family was able to evacuate safely. However, the fire consumed their houseboat, resulting in a complete loss of their possessions.

After returning to the shelter, Moose’s story touched the heart of another family in Portsmouth who had followed the news coverage. The Lucas family, captivated by Moose’s resilience, decided to adopt him.

Ciara Lucas shared her decision, saying, “We saw that he had been returned, and I was talking to my husband. I told him Moose got returned and he was like ‘well, go get him’.”

Moose found himself in a lively household, coexisting with various animals including dogs, cats, chickens, goats, and even a tortoise. Lucas affirmed that Moose’s place in their home is permanent, stating firmly, “He’s here to stay.”

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