Javier Mercado said he was home alone when he heard people break into his family’s house.
He saw a stranger’s car pull in front of his house, Mercado told King5, and then came the sound of shattering glass. Someone had broken through the sliding door.
The 16-year-old from Des Moines, Washington, told KOMO that he hid in a bathroom closet and called 911 on his cellphone during the alleged break-in Wednesday. Mercado said he owes his life to Rex, his family’s 2-year-old German shepherd, for what the tenacious dog did next.
“I started hearing barking, a lot of barking, and then one of the guys screamed, ‘The dog bit me, the dog bit me’,” Mercado told Q13. Then he said the bullets started flying.
“My dog cries after each shot,” he added to Q13. “Just the worst thing I’ve ever seen.”
The teen said he wanted to comfort his injured dog but a dispatcher on the phone told him to stay hidden. Mercado told King5 that he “thought (Rex) was dead for sure.”
“I broke down,” he said.
But that wasn’t the case — Rex, after being shot three times in his neck and hind legs, received treatment at BluePearl Pet Hospital in Seattle, according to KOMO. He’s in stable condition and was expected to receive surgery on Friday.
Police officers arrived to the house shortly after the burglars fired the bullets, according to KOMO. The unidentified suspects ran away, police say, and the incident is under investigation.
It doesn’t appear that Mercado’s family will have to pay much for Rex’s surgery. A GoFundMe page titled “Help Save Rex The Heroe (sic) Dog” has received more than $24,000 in donations, more than double the original goal of $10,000.
Julia Cadena, Mercado’s mother, said she’s happy that Rex was there to defend her son.
“Rex is an angel,” she told Q13. “He’s my four-legged angel that we had at our house.”