Dog lover Dave Hawkins knew there was only one thing to do when his Burnaby home caught fire.
He had to rescue his two trapped Doberman pinschers, Mercedes and Duke.
Hawkins, 32, remains in hospital suffering from burns to 40 per cent of his body after making the decision last week to go into his burning home on Royal Oak Avenue to free his dogs.
He managed to get to Mercedes and pull her out, but she died on the way to the vets' office from smoke inhalation. His pup, Duke, managed to escape from the home and was found a short time later.
Hawkins is the manager of Sailor Hagar's Liquor Store in North Vancouver and, on Monday, co-workers spoke out about his tragedy and their plans to hold a fundraiser to help him rebuild his life.
The fire destroyed the home that Hawkins rented and all his possessions. He had no insurance.
"He was very close to those dogs," said Brian Riedlinger, co-owner of Sailor Hagar's Brew Pub and Liquor Store. Mercedes gave birth to three pups, including Duke, last year. "He took time off work to raise those three pups at home," he add-ed.
"The dogs were his life."
While Hawkins is heavily sedated and recovering from burns to his head and upper body, he has been able to tell what happened.
Hawkins was working on his yard with a weed-whacker that was plugged into the house when he spotted heavy smoke coming from the house. At that point, he made the decision to rescue the dogs.
"He lived for his dogs and he risked his life and went in to try and save the dogs," said Riedlinger. "You could never hold him back."
Family and friends are at the bed side of Hawkins, whose head and upper body are wrapped in gauze. The SPCA is caring for his dog while he recovers.
A fundraiser and silent auction will be held Aug. 4 from 5 to 9 p.m. at Sailor Hagar's Brew Pub at 86 Semisch Ave. in North Vancouver. A band will be playing from 9 p.m. until closing and admission is $5 or more by donation. For more information, call 604-984-3087.