Javier Cadena, 16, was home alone in Des Moines Wednesday when burglars smashed through the glass door of his house.
"I think if it wasn't for him, I wouldn't be standing here today," Javier said. "I immediately dialed 911 and my dog, as soon as he heard the windows shatter, he ran downstairs full charge. I just heard a bunch of barking and struggling and one of the guys screaming, 'The dog bit me. Get the dog.'"
Javier hid in a bathroom closet and Rex went after the intruders. Rex went downstairs and attacked the burglars, who hit Rex with items in order to get him off.
According to a GoFundMe account set up by Javier's aunt, Rex was bloodied and hurt but went back to check on the teen in the closet. When the burglars continued upstairs, Rex went after the burglars again.
That's when Javier heard four gunshots and Rex cried out.
"Then I heard them scream out, 'Let's get out of here,'" he said.
The Cadena family said they aren't sure if the intruders actually stole anything or who they could be. Authorities continue to investigate the break-in.
Javier's mother, Julia, said she is glad her son wasn't hurt. Now she's worried about Rex, who was shot three times, including in the neck.
"He was trying to protect Javier. That was his whole mission there. My hero. My four-legged angel and hero," she said.
Rex must undergo surgery and is currently in stable condition. The family hopes he'll pull through.
"I'm just hoping that he fights through it and makes it," Javier said.
The GoFundMe account has been set up to help pay for Rex's medical costs. If you would like to donate, you may do so by clicking here.