Dog survives deadly fire, gets new forever home

POLK COUNTY, Fla. - A would-be rescuer and the man he was trying to save both died in a Polk County fire earlier this month.  

Joseph "Sundance" Hernandez died trying to save his friend Jimmy Meeks on June first in the town of Eloise.  With Hernandez when he entered the burning building was his dog, Jethro.

The 2-year-old mixed-breed managed to survive, but suffered some severe burns, according to a news release.

"He (Jethro) was a real trooper. Even in his discomfort, he always had a gentle and appreciative tail wag while he was with us," said Dr. Lori Shank, who donated her veterinary services.

After he was released by Dr. Shank, Jethro was cared for by Tiger Godwin, a friend of Hernandez. Godwin said it was clear that Jethro mourned for his former owner.

"He howled for two straight days for Sundance," Godwin said.

Godwin said more than a few people wanted to adopt Jethro, who is now with his new "forever" family that includes two young girls.

Dr. Shank said Jethro should make a full recovery.

"The love of those who took care of him right after the fire, and from his new family, is the best medicine of all," Shank said.

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