chien_460.jpgGuy Lozeau will never forget the night of October 11, 2011. He remembers pushing away his dog Max, who was desperately trying to wake him up. Thick black smoke was already filling the apartment, but the hum from the air conditioning was covering up the sound of the smoke detectors.

In the face of imminent danger, Max decided to gently bite his master to wake him up. Guy realized that he needed to get out of there, and quick. To avoid breathing in more smoke, he crawled to the kitchen on his hands and knees and got out through the rear balcony. He didn’t even have time to grab some clothes.

“I’m still here, thanks to my dog! You have to live through it to understand what it’s like to lose everything in a fire. You just can’t know what it’s like if you haven’t experienced it.”

In the midst of the chaos while the fire raged on, Guy remembers that Red Cross volunteers came forward to give him a blanket, offer him a place to stay and comfort him.

“They didn’t judge. They just wanted to help me. I was in a state of shock, and those 15 minutes with them meant a lot.”

Guy and his dog were given seven days of accommodations, and he also received vouchers for meals and clothing.

“It’s tough to find a building that allows dogs. It took me a while to find a new place, but I’m now the president of the tenant committee in my 150-unit building in Ahuntsic, Montreal. I was born there, and the fire brought me back,” he remarked, with a note of irony.

Ever since the fire, Max barks whenever he hears the sound of smoke detectors and Guy makes sure to regularly check the equipement in his building. 

“Even if people feel like they are often asked for donations, it’s important to give. I knew that the Red Cross helped people affected by disasters both here and around the world, but now that I have lived through one, I know just how valuable that assistance is when you need it most,” concluded Guy.

Red Cross volunteers are mobilized on average every three hours to help people affected by disasters across the country. Donations help to meet their basic housing, food and clothing needs and provide moral support during these difficult times.