FORT MYERS, Fla. -- They are calling her a hero.
Members of a Fort Myers family are grieving the loss of their pit bull, Lucy, who died while protecting them from a man armed with a knife.
They said Walter Williams, 48, refused to drop the weapon, and when Lucy got between him and her family, he used the knife on her.
"She was everything to me, like my little girl, my baby, my daughter," said Rodrick Gibbons.
He had six-year-old Lucy since she was just a puppy.
"I had her since she was a baby, raised her. She is family," he said.
On Friday, that relationship was put to the test.
"She knew who her family was, so she really did a good job," said Victoria Snyder.
Lucy ran into an apartment with her family when they heard their grandmother screaming for help.
Lisa Potts said her ex-boyfriend, Williams, was attacking her.
"He just flipped and hauled off and hit me in the face. That man is too big to be hitting on me," Potts said.
They said Williams got a knife and wouldn't put it down while making threats.
"Lucy lunged at him and he caught her right in the neck. She still was fighting him, and that's when all three of my sons jumped on Walter and held him down to the ground," Potts said.
Potts said Williams stabbed one of her sons in the arm, but they believe Lucy prevented him from doing any further damage.
"If it wasn't for her, man, I'm telling you. He could have killed one of us," she said.
They quickly comforted Lucy until Animal Services arrived.
"I kept just trying to be happy and calling her name and 'come on, Lucy, come on.'"
Lucy died the next day, but she still lives on as a part of the family.
"I'll remember her. She did her job. She did what she was supposed to do, and I am going to make sure that she leaves her name on this earth."
Story submitted by WBBH via CNN NEWSOURCE