The Hawman family spent Christmas Day trying to find out what was left of their belongings after a fire burned down their home in Vonda, Sask.

But father Mitch Hawman said it could have been much worse if it wasn't for their dog, Rex.

On Christmas Eve, Mitch, his wife, and their children went to a relative's house for dinner. Mitch's mother, Noreen Lucas, stayed at their home with Rex because she wasn't feeling well.

"She was sleeping on the couch in the living room and I guess Rex was barking a lot. She kind of just shrugged him off thinking he was getting excited over anything — you don't think your house is on fire," Mitch explained.

Mitch Hawman

Mitch Hawman says his dog, Rex, saved his mother from Christmas Eve fire. (Victoria Dinh/CBC)

As the fire spread through the house, the dog grabbed Lucas' pant leg, dragging her off of the couch and towards the door.

"He was trying to save my mom's life, get her out of there," Mitch said. "He knew that something was wrong and at that point she woke up and she said she looked down the hallway and it was just flames."

Lucas was able to get out of the house safely with Rex before calling her son to tell him their home was on fire. The Hawman family rushed back to their property, but it was too late.

"You are losing everything. You are watching everything you own go," Mitch said. "There is nothing you can do about it. It's an amount of emotions you can't explain."

Rex the dog

Mitch Hawman says his dog Rex is a member of the family. (Mitch Hawman/Submitted to CBC)

As Mitch watched his belongings, memories, and keepsakes burn, he thought about how he could possibly make it a merry Christmas for his children. Once word of the fire spread around the small community, Mitch said they were given a place to stay, presents, food, clothing, and support.

"It's overwhelming. You are sitting there going, 'Last night, I had nothing.' And this morning, I have so many things. People are just willing to give that to you," Mitch said. "How do you thank these people? They are all offering so much. There are no words to try to thank people. You want to do so much more to show your appreciation."

Mitch said their plan is to eventually rebuild their home, but for now they are happy that everyone made it out safe.

"If it wasn't cold out, [Rex] would have been outside. This would have been a lot worse than it is," Mitch said. "We would have lost a life."

Vonda, Sask., is about 50 kilometres east of Saskatoon.