updated 06/13/2011 AT 3:00 PM ET
•originally published 06/13/2011 AT 5:00 PM ET
When a fire ripped through country star Trace Adkins’s family home in Brentwood, Tenn., earlier this month, the singer’s family – which includes girls MacKenzie, 13, Brianna, 9 and Trinity, 6, – lost everything. But thanks to the bravery of daughter Brianna, their two dogs survived the blaze, which was caused by a faulty power strip beneath Adkins’s workbench.
As flames engulfed their home on June 4, the girls and their nanny escaped the house and fled to their safe place (Adkins and his wife Rhonda were not at home at the time). But when the 9-year-old realized her puppies could be in jeopardy, she started to go back to save them.
“A neighbor tried to stop her,” Adkins tells PEOPLE Pets. “But she wouldn’t be stopped.” So the neighbor joined her and the two carried the pups to safety.
“They’re her puppies,” the crooner says of the 10-month-old Australian shepherds, Daisy and Bella. “[Brianna] has severe allergies and this is one of the only breeds that she can have. I told her, ‘I’m proud of you. I’m proud of you for the way you saved those puppies.’”