A dog named Polo has been hailed as a hero after his actions were credited with saving the life of an 8-month-old girl in a house fire in Baltimore last weekend.
The girl's mother, Erika Poremski, told WBAL-TV that she'd stepped out of her house for a few moments on Sunday evening when the fire broke out. Her young daughter, Viviana, was stuck on the second floor of the house.
"I just heard her crying and I couldn't get to her," Poremski said. "I tried really hard, everyone in the neighborhood tried. They were kicking the doors in and kicking the windows out. I couldn't (get her out). Nobody could."
Firefighters from Baltimore City Fire Department arrived on the scene to find fire and smoke billowing from the house. They entered the burning building and found Viviana in her room - where Polo the dog was covering the infant with his body.
"She only had burns on her side because of it," Poremski said. "He stayed with her the whole time in the bedroom and wouldn't even come downstairs to get out the door."
Viviana was taken to hospital, suffering severe burns on her face, arm and side. She remains in hospital in serious condition.
"She's doing the best she can right now," Poremski told reporters. "And she's fighting and that's it. She's a really good girl I just hope she's OK."
"[Polo] stayed with her the whole time in the bedroom and wouldn't even come downstairs to get out the door. He was my first baby and now I lost him. And I'm just praying I don't lose her. She's all I have and it just happened so fast, I just don't understand it. I just don't know why this stuff happens.
A Go Fund Me page set up by a friend of Poremski to help the family has raised close to $16,000 at time of writing.