OBERLIN, Ohio-- Kaitlin Holsworth dreamed of someday marrying her boyfriend, Tony Vacha, in their historic Oberlin home, which has been in the family.
A major fire burned the home to the ground last Friday.
“It was a beautiful old home," Holsworth said. "We lost everything, including our memories. We lived there for 20 years and my brother and I grew up there."
They’re thankful for their lives and grateful for their sweet 6-year-old dog Ripley, a beagle-pit bull mix they now call their hero.
“She’s the best dog on the planet,” Holsworth said.
The couple said they were sound asleep when Ripley did something she’s never done before. In the middle of the night, she jumped on them barking. It was how persistent she was that finally got their attention.
They had no idea their home was filling with smoke and flames.
“I don’t know maybe it was the fumes, but we were completely asleep. She made sure we got up. She was on us, waking us up. I don’t know if we would’ve gotten out if it wasn’t for her,” Holsworth said.
Not all of the news is good. They lost three of their cherished cats that died in the fire.
"They were so good, they were my babies, but they lived a good life," Holsworth said.
They also lost all of their belongings in the fire, including love letters and all of their photos. But now the Oberlin community is stepping up by donating new clothes and other items. They even showed up with dog food and toys for Ripley.
"This has just been amazing. We wouldn't be able to get through this without them," Vacha said.
Holsworth and Vacha are treating Ripley like a queen since she saved their lives.
"She's had two steak dinners in the past two weeks," Holsworth said.
A GoFundMe page has been set up for the couple.
The cause of the fire has not been determined, but Holsworth said believes it might have started in the kitchen.