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Hero dog finds forever home after saving foster family from a boat fire: 'He's here to stay'

A Great Pyrenees alerted his foster family, who were asleep on their houseboat, that a fire had broken out on another boat.

Hero dog finds forever home after saving foster family from a boat fire: 'He's here to stay'
Cover Image Source: YouTube | WTKR News 3

A heroic foster dog ended up saving a sleeping family of five from a houseboat fire at the Tidewater Yacht Marina in Portsmouth, Virginia. The Cushna family first found Moose through the Portsmouth Humane Society’s program “Paws Around Portsmouth" program where people can take a shelter dog on a "field trip" for a few days to help the pet get adopted. They planned on taking care of him temporarily but he ended up making a mark unlike any other dog they've had.

Representational Image Source: Pexels |  Tychon Krug
Representational Image Source: Pexels | Tychon Krug

While the family was asleep on the boat one night the fluffy white Great Pyrenees knew something was wrong and quickly urged the family members to get up. He ended up saving their lives after a fire had broken out on another boat moored nearby. “Things just happened so quickly,” Christopher Cushna, who was aboard the houseboat, told The Messenger. “It really could have been a disaster.” At around around 7:30 that morning the family woke up thanks to the alert pooch and noticed plumes of smoke on a nearby vessel. Quickly they were able to escape before their own boat caught fire all thanks to Moose!

While the Cushnas will forever be grateful to the sweet pooch they aren't able to keep a large dog full-time on a houseboat. "The foster family never intended to keep him forever. Bringing a dog home from the shelter just to give them an overnight or a few hours out of the shelter is a great opportunity for them to reset and relax from being a shelter dog," Dyanna Uchiek, executive director at Portsmouth Humane, told local CBS affiliate WTKR.  No matter how short his stay was with the family he made a permanent impact on the Cushnas. "Moose definitely saved us on the boat," said Cushna.


A day after the incident someone had come in to take Moose but it wasn’t a good fit. So, he went back to the shelter. Uchiek explained that it is quite common for someone who takes a pet home as a temporary foster to say "this is not the right fit for us." 

"We just want to work with people and make sure everyone finds the right fit. Because if they come back after a few days in foster care that person can say, 'They really love squeaky toys. They're great in the car. They're housebroken,'" Uchiek said.

Fortunately for Moose, someone did come in and it was a perfect match. Ciara Lucas recently came in and adopted Moose from the Portsmouth Humane Society. She and her husband saw Moose's story being covered by local media and knew they wanted to help. They are already parents to dogs, cats, chickens and a tortoise on 5 acres of land, so this would mean he would have a lot of space and fellow furry friends to keep him company.


"We saw that he had been returned, and I was talking to my husband," Lucas told WTKR. "I told him Moose got returned and he was like 'well, go get him." His story has been picked up so well that many people actually know who he is. Lucas even met a woman who knew about Moose and even called him a celebrity! "Then I got home and was like 'oh wow, he is!'" she shared. While there are challenges along the way, Moose was able to adapt quite well in his new home. "When we got here, all of [the other animals] were really good and accepting of him, and it seemed like he was pretty cool and laid back with it," she said. "He laid out on my back deck, laid out in front of the pool and just made himself at home. He's here to stay," she concluded. 


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