What began as a mother and child dealing with a storm, turned into a tragic tale of one dog’s willingness to sacrifice everything for his family.
After a power outage affected their Baltimore home, Erika Poremski and her 8-month old daughter Viviana were settling in for the evening. Viviana was asleep, and Poremski stepped outside for just a few minutes so she could charge her phone in her car. But according to Inside Edition, it was within those few minutes that flames erupted inside the house. With baby Viviana still inside.
Poremski tried frantically to get back into the house to save Viviana. Even neighbors stepped in to attempt the rescue.
“I couldn’t get to her. I tried really hard,” Poremski tearfully told WTAE 4. “Everybody in the neighborhood tried. They were kicking the doors in, kicking the windows out. And it was just…I couldn’t.”
The firefighters arrived quickly. According to WMAR, they immediately climbed a ladder to the second story and smashed in the window to rescue baby Viviana. What they found there was astonishing.
Lying across the baby’s body was a small, black, curly-haired dog named Polo. The Poremski’s family dog was protecting the 8-month-old girl from the flames. And before the firefighters arrived, the dog had been refusing to leave her side.
“Polo stayed with her the whole time in the bedroom and wouldn’t even come downstairs to get out the door,” Poremski told WTAE 4.
Sadly, by the time the firefighters arrived on the scene, it was too late for Polo. The little dog had died protecting the baby girl.
But because of the dog’s selfless act, Viviana suffered burns on only 19% of her body – her face, leg, and arm, according to Inside Edition. When the firefighters reached her, she was unconscious but alive. Baby Viviana is currently in intensive care. According to The Independent, she continues to survive from day to day.
“She’s doing the best she can right now, and she’s fighting and that’s it.” Poremski said of her baby daughter. “She’s a really good girl, and I just…I hope she’s okay.”
Though the team of firefighters was able to put out the fire in 30 minutes, the Poremski family still lost everything. A Go Fund Me page has been set up for the mother and her baby to restart their lives. So far they have raised over $17,000, and the numbers continue to grow. In addition to the funds, many generous people are organizing donations of baby supplies, clothing, and other essentials.
Though the future is still somewhat uncertain for Erika Poremski and her baby Viviana, it would be a lot more devastating had it not been for the selfless act of one small dog. And as their Go Fund Me page states, “Polo died a hero.”