His name is Smokey.
A fitting name, considering the miracle dog was found alive by firefighters inside the smoldering remains of a Pinehurst home that burned down around him on Valentine's Day.
Firefighters found the dog breathing shallowly, but he only had a small burn above his eye. They quickly administered oxygen to the dog and called workers from Paws to Claws Veterinary Clinic in Magnolia to take the dog for emergency treatment.
"He was in bad shape," said Rhonda Lankford, an employee of the clinic who picked up the dog. "He was dehydrated, full of chemicals and had suffered from extreme smoke inhalation."
It was so bad that he was only taking about 40 breaths per minute – a very shallow rate for an active dog.
Lankford rushed Smokey to the clinic where her boss, Dr. Suzanne Knoop Scott, began treatment and placed the dog in their intensive care unit. The owner of the home that burned claimed the dog was just a stray that they fed, but that was the opening the staff needed to begin aggressively treating Smokey, in order to save him. By law they cannot treat a dog without an owner's permission.
For the first few days the prognosis was iffy. Smokey would just fall over when he tried to walk and was very thin. Suddenly though, the dog began to show marked improvements.
While he is a quiet dog, he is extremely loving and friendly, Lankford said. She said the improvement is remarkable and could be considered miraculous.
"He's bright and alert," Lankford said. "He's 100 percent better. Sometimes they just have a will to survive."
While Smokey is heartworm positive, Scott believes that it isn't too severe and can be treated with preventative medicine, while his body recovers from the effects of the fire.
Heartworms are not contagious to either animals or humans.
"He has to get fully recovered from the smoke inhalation before we can do the full treatment for the heartworms.
He could also stand to gain a few more pounds she said.
While Smokey is still recovering, it doesn't mean he has to stay too much longer at the clinic. He's only on oral medications and Scott said he could go home in about a week – that is if he had a home to go to.
With no one claiming the dog and a lack of space at the clinic, the staff is afraid they may have to turn Smokey over to animal control, at which point he could be euthanized within three days.
Area no-kill shelters are full and the doctor and her staff are frantically searching for a new home for Smokey.
Considering what the dog survived, it would be heartbreaking to many if he had to be put down, simply because he didn't have a home to go to.
If you are interested in helping provide Smokey with a new home, contact the staff at Paws to Claws Veterinary Care at 281-356-2384.