8 min read

Loyal Dogs Warned Their Family The House Was About To Collapse

Everyone got out just in time 💖

Michelle Moore always knew her two dogs, Jake and Dutchess, were special — but she never imagined they’d end up saving her life.

Two weeks ago, Moore and her boyfriend, Christopher Creech, who live in Danville, Virginia, jolted awake at 1:30 a.m. Jake, their 11-year-old rescued Shih Tzu, had leapt onto their bed and was furiously barking.

Shih tzu in Santa Christmas suit
Jake, Moore's 11-year-old Shih Tzu | Michelle Moore

“He was barking and barking and barking, and reaching up and grabbing my boyfriend’s beard and pulling on it,” Moore told The Dodo. “He’d never done anything like that.”

Dutchess, a 1-year-old Staffordshire terrier, starting barking, too, forcing Moore and Creech to sit up in bed. And that’s when they heard terrifying sounds from the other side of the house.

“We heard boards breaking, like someone was trying to break into the door with an ax or something,” Moore said.

Staffordshire terrier leaning against person's leg
Dutchess, Moore's 1-year-old Staffordshire terrer | Michelle Moore

Creech leapt up to investigate, while Moore stayed in bed.

“I sat there, just panicked,” Moore said. “I realized the air conditioner went off and all the power went out. And then I could hear the water rushing like a waterfall — just rushing river water.”

Suddenly, Creech shouted to Moore from the kitchen.

“He kept saying, ‘We’ve got to get out, we’ve got to get out — the house is falling,’” Moore said. “That took a second to register, but I jumped up and took off out of the bedroom, but realized that I didn’t have my glasses on. So I grabbed my glasses and my little dog Jake and ran out into the hallway.”

Moore didn’t get very far — she actually ran into the hallway wall, which had fallen down and was blocking her path.

Collapsed house due to flash flooding
The damage to the house Moore and Creech once lived in | Michelle Moore

“I couldn’t see that,” Moore said. “Apparently, I stepped over a big hole when I ran over there. Otherwise, I would have fallen through to the basement, which was full of water and coming in and crashing all the beams and everything in the house.”

During the commotion, Jake leapt out of Moore’s arms and ran back into the bedroom. Dutchess, on the other hand, had already gotten outside, and was frantically barking in the front yard. Creech told Moore they had to get out, too, but Moore wasn’t going to leave without Jake.

Collapsed house due to flash floods
Michelle Moore

“I yelled to my boyfriend, ‘I can’t find Jake,’” Moore said. “He managed somehow to get back into the bedroom, and he’d gone underneath the bed — he was hiding and scared. Forget the pleading to try and get him to come out from under the bed — he had to just get him.”

Somehow, the four of them managed to get out safely — and just in time. Their house was crumbling to the ground as floodwaters gushed through their property. They later learned that the local river had gotten clogged up with debris in the wake of Hurricane Florence, and it had created dangerous flash flooding in the neighborhood.

Damaged house after flash flooding
Michelle Moore

“We just watched the water rise — it rose 30 feet,” Moore said. “We were trapped. The road was washed out. I was on the phone with 911, and they sent the fire department out to get us.”

The fire department couldn’t rescue them by boat, so two officers hiked through the woods and helped Moore, Creech, Jake and Dutchess get to safety. Yet Moore is struggling to deal with the amount of loss they suffered.

Collapsed house due to flash floods
Michelle Moore

“It’s just been a nightmare,” Moore said. “Everything that I have ever touched or owned is gone … my son’s baby pictures, a lot of things from my dad who died when I was 6. So that’s been really heartbreaking.”

There’s a lot Moore is thankful for, as well. A local man got in touch with them and offered his empty rental house free of charge for two months. “It’s given us time to get back onto our feet,” Moore said. “It’s been really wonderful.”

Shih Tzu dog
Jake and Dutchess snoozing together | Michelle Moore

But to Moore, the biggest blessing is having Jake and Dutchess — not only did the dogs save their lives, but they’ve been a wonderful support system to Moore. Dutchess, in particular, runs to her side whenever she begins to cry.

“These two are my shadows, and they’re not normally like that,” Moore said. “They’re extra clingy, and they’ve been getting lots of dog treats.”

Dogs sleeping together on bed
Michelle Moore

Moore ended up writing a post about her experiences in Pittie Nation, a closed Facebook group for pit bull lovers that's tied to The Dodo’s Facebook Watch show, also called Pittie Nation — and the post got nearly 700 likes and hundreds of comments.

“My Jake and Dutchess are our heros,” Moore said in the post.

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