Pennsylvania animal shelter says adopted dog died in fire to stay with owner trapped inside burning home

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POTTSVILLE, Pa. (WNEP) —  A fire in Pottsville, Pennsylvania claimed the lives of a woman and her dog.

Lorrie Botella, 42, died at the hospital after being trapped inside her home. Her dog Thor died as well.

Megan Curry volunteers at Hillside SPCA just outside Pottsville and helped Botella adopt Thor in the spring.

“Thor loved her right away. He went right to her and that’s not usual for him,” said Curry. “He was abused before he came to the shelter, so he was very untrusting of people.”

Curry says Botella initially adopted Thor to be a playmate for her other dog, Dexter.

But after working for weeks to get Thor to trust her, Curry says Thor became Botella’s playmate instead.

“He ended up being her best buddy and she would send me updates and pictures and videos and everything, every single day,” said Curry.

Curry believes it was that bond that caused Thor to stick with Botella inside the home when she became trapped.

“He followed her around and he was very devoted to her. And she did everything she could for him. And in the end, he stayed with her,” said Curry.

According to Curry, Botella’s other dog, Dexter, was able to make it out. He’s currently being cared for at a foster home.

Curry’s consolation is that Botella and Thor are together.

“She loved him more than anything.”

Red Cross is assisting seven people displaced from the other side of the double block due to smoke damage.

A state police fire marshal is investigating the cause.

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