Editor’s Note: There will be a memorial for Shane Scarborough, 31, who died when the Riverview Grocery and Apartments burned down nearly two weeks ago along U.S. 321.
The memorial will be held on Friday, March 20, at 6 p.m. at the Beaverdam Fire Department. Food will be served and a candle light service will be held. There will also be a balloon release at the low-water bridge on Guy Ford Road.
Below is a story about a dog that saved Scarborough’s best friend, David Maine.
By Jesse Wood
Because of the heroics of Tyson, a 4-year-old chocolate lab and pit bull mixed, and the brave actions of a firefighter, David Maine is alive today.
Maine co-managed the River Grocery and Apartments with his best friend, Shane Scarborough, who perished in the fire that burned down the iconic establishment nearly two weeks ago.
Tyson was Scarborough’s dog but stayed at Maine’s nearby apartment because Maine had a yard for Tyson to run around in, according Phyllis Harmon, Maine’s sister.
Here’s an account of how Tyson saved Maine, who was sleeping as the structure was in flames – as told by Harmon:
“Tyson saved David by barking ferociously, like strangers were near. When David woke up, Tyson saw his eyes open and immediately went to a door that lead out of David’s bedroom into a big open room where the stove was that had heated the apartments for years.
“Tyson jumped and put both front feet on this door. Then he went back to David’s bedside and was still barking. He went back to the door and jumped the same as he did before. David finally got up, somewhat angry at Tyson for waking him up, opened the door that Tyson had been jumping on, and saw thin horizontal lines of black smoke.
“David and Shane shared a walkie-talkie system, and David got on it and said, “Shane, Shane, the building is on fire! Get out! Get out now! As David started to get dressed with his clothes of the night before, a fireman knocked David’s door down and said that he had less than 5 minutes to get out. David grabbed Tyson’s leash and got it hooked. I guess Tyson could sense the fear in the fireman, also, and ran by the fireman, pulling David which had the other end of the leash, and pulled David up about 30 steps as hard as he could pull.
“David said that he barely could keep up. By the time they got to the top, David went to his car, which was nearby, and put Tyson in and got in himself. He looked over at Shane’s apartment, and it was already ablaze. Firemen wouldn’t let David anywhere close to Shane’s apartment. David told the firemen that Shane was in there, but there was nothing that anyone could do. Tyson stayed right by David’s side during the hour and a half that David watched his world crash.”
When he was alive, Harmon said that Shane would take Tyson to the riverbanks of the Watauga River below the Riverview Grocery and Apartments on Guy Ford Road on his days off, which were few and far between.
While Tyson swam and played in the water, Shane would scope the riverbank for anything of interest. Along with finding many fishing lures, he once found a $20 bill and put it under the Plexiglas on the counter inside the store for good luck, Harmon said.
For Tyson’s efforts in helping save Maine, Purina, a dog food company, has agreed to give Tyson dog food for the rest of the dog’s life. In addition, Harmon said that Purina is having a photographer come to the High Country to take a photo of Tyson and make the dog a “poster child” on bags of the company’s dog food.
“Tyson has sure lived up to his name,” Harmon said. “He’s a true hero.”
Click here for previous stories related to the fire, including ways to donate to the victims of the fire.