ASC and Local Vet Saves Heroic Dog
Dog received burns while alerting family
September 27, 2013
At around 2:00 a.m. on the morning of September 26, 2013, the Tallahassee Fire Department received a call for a house fire in the 1500 Block of Lake Avenue. Upon arrival, fire crews noticed smoke coming from the rear of the house. Firefighters quickly extinguished a fire along the rear of the home and inside the back porch. The residents evacuated safely after they were awakened by their barking dog. Onyx, the family's dog, received burns as a result of the fire. No other injuries were reported at the fire and damages were estimated at $5,000. The Florida State Fire Marshal's Office was at the scene and is currently investigating the cause of the fire.
The resident credits her dog, Onyx with saving her family's lives. She says the 9 month old pitbull began barking loudly in the middle of the night and when her husband went to investigate he found the back side of the house on fire. Thanks to Onyx, the family was able to get out of the house safely, however Onyx was severely burned in the process.
Unable to afford veterinary care, the family took Onyx to the Tallahassee Leon-Community Animal Service Center (ASC) where they thought they would have to surrender him over to the shelter. When the staff at the ASC realized that Onyx had saved the family's life, they worked quickly to get him the care he needed.
"Our goal is to help pets stay in their homes with their families," said Dr. Rachel Barton, Animal Services Veterinarian. "Given the traumatic event this family had just experienced, we knew we needed to do whatever we could to help them keep Onyx at home. They had already been through so much, the last thing we wanted them to do was lose their dog as well."
The ASC reached out to local veterinarian Dr. Kevin Brumfield at Northwood Animal Hospital and to the Tallahassee Animal Shelter Foundation (ASF), to coordinate care for this special hero.
"While our primary focus is to help provide veterinary care for the homeless animals at the ASC, given the extraordinary circumstances of this situation, we decided that we would help Onyx get the care that he deserved, so that he could stay with his owners rather than being turned over to the shelter," said ASF President Kate MacFall. "Onyx is currently resting comfortably in the hospital where he will undergo treatment for severe burns on his face, ears, chest and feet," added Dr. Brumfield. "If not for this special dog, this family may never have woken up."
Onyx will require several weeks of treatment with antibiotics and pain medications to allow help his burns to heal properly.
Anyone with information related to this incident is asked to contact the Florida State Fire Marshal's Arson Tip Hotline at 1-877-NO-ARSON (1-877-662-7766).
Lt. Mike Bellamy, Public Information Officer, 606-6625