DES MOINES, Wash. – A 16-year-old boy was hiding in a closet giving updates to a 911 dispatcher during a burglary at his family's home, when he heard gunshots and his dog suddenly stopped barking.
Des Moines police Cmdr. Doug Jenkins said the first 911 call came in at about 12:20 p.m. about a home in the 1400 block of South 234th Street. Police said the teen was home alone when the break-in happened.
"He heard noises and voices, ran upstairs and hid in closet," Jenkins told Q13 News.
The family's 2-year-old German shepherd, Rex, ran downstairs to confront the intruders. The thieves beat the dog, leaving him badly injured.
Even after being bloodied and hurt, Rex still had enough strength left to get back to the teen -- his best friend -- and protect him as the thieves proceeded into the bedrooms, including the one where the boy was hiding, the teen's aunt said in a GoFundMe page.
"As they entered the room where my nephew was hiding in the closet, Rex came out with the little strength he had left in him and threw himself at them as he knew my nephew was in danger," Susy Cadena wrote on the page.
The thieves opened fire, shooting Rex multiple times. He was struck in the neck, leg and knee, yet managed to survive.
"My nephew was protected by his eternal friend until the last bit of strength he had in him to do what his unconditional, loving instinct told him to," Cadena wrote, calling Rex a "hero dog."
The suspects were no longer in the home when officers arrived. No arrests had been made as of Thursday afternoon.
The dog is now at BluePearl Veterinary Partners in Renton. Rex's family has already paid $2,000 for the scans, X-rays and other urgent treatment to stabilize him.
They needed the money for the $8,000 surgery today to save his life, but the public has stepped up to help.
This photo was taken just before Rex went into surgery Friday morning -- we'll update you when we get word about his condition.