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Susie treated after house fire

This is “Susie”. She is a Lab/Staffy X bitch and at the time was just 14 months old. She alerted her owner to a serious house fire but unfortunately both of them were badly burnt. Firemen rescued the lady (Carly) and a veterinary nurse took “Susie” from the firemen and drove across the fields to get to the Vets – the road was blocked by fire engines.

Many months of treatment followed and Friends of the Animals paid around £5,000 so that Susie could be saved. Susie’s owner was in a Burns Unit for a long time, but happily she too survived.

Letter from Suzies owner, Stacey

Dear Helen,
On the Sunday the 25th of October, my sister’s home was on fire with her self and her dog Susie trapped inside. My sister was asleep and was awoken luckily by Susie barking and crying. The firemen rescued my sister and Susie. Luckily a lady who lived opposite my sisters house was a veterinary nurse, who took Susie from the firemen to the vets were she worked (she did leave details of the vets where she was taking Susie) incidentally these details were miss laid.

The nurse from Feltwell surgery was extremely helpful and put her self out for this dog, who was extremely badly injured, by driving her vehicle across fields to get her help at the vets , as the roads were blocked because of the fire engines attending.

It then took a following 5 hours to locate Susie’s whereabouts’ as her details had been mislaid.( as explained above). We finally managed to locate her through phoning the locals veterinary practices that could of taken her in. Finally through hear say we found that she was taken to Paul Jarmons Practice in Feltwell. We phoned him and she advised us that Susie was extremely badly burnt and was critically ill. He described her injuries as very badly burnt back end all four pads were brick red and skin was melted. She suffered smoke inhalation but that was a minor injury. He thought her chances at the time weren’t  the best and we were to give him a ring in the morning to see how she had faired through the night.

We spoke again in the morning to see how Susie was and the cost her of care to me was to be realised. I had explained to the surgery that Susie was not insured and I would take responsibility of her care. My sister was unable to care for her dog as her injuries were just as bad and she was hospitalised at Chelmsford special burns unit recovering. So as families do, we all pulled together, my parents had my sisters children and I took over the care of the dog. I had also explained to the vets that I would need help with the bill as I am in receipt of benefits and would need a payment plan and time to collect information about the charities which could help me.

On Tuesday which was two days since the fire, I went to visit Susie. When I saw her, my eyes welled up and I was lost for words and I could honestly say that I  had never seen such sorry looking dog. Given all of what she had been through she still managed to say hello and wag her burnt tail.

On Wednesday I received a phone call form the vets asking permission to sedate Susie so that they could cut off the dead and infected skin from her right leg , hip, along her back and her paws. They thought that  the procedure would take half an hour, but in fact took at least an hour and a half. For the next few days Susie was really rock bottom. She was depressed and wouldn’t eat , drink or stand and she even refused to go to the toilet. It was like she had had enough and had given up.

I went to visit Susie as often as I could in the hoper that I could temp her into eating or going to toilet but it seemed all in vain. At times it was very upsetting for me not only was I seeing my sister in pain and all in bandages I was seeing my sisters dog in the same state.

After a few days of talking to her ‘fur’ , hand feeding her tit bits and the vets buying her fresh chicken and ham !!! She started to make a small recovery.

But I still had to keep reminding myself that it had only been 8 days since the fire and this small chink of light was still a long way off.

Week two was a busy one, with Susie feeling a little better I was trying to visit as often as possible but for poor Susie it was a trying time. She had to have her dressings changed copiously.

To give you an idea of what Susie’s daily routine was I have written  it below:

Fed and given pain relief and antibiotics

9am to 11am:
Dressings removed and paws and backend washed down with a dilute of iodine.
Apply manuka honey to all wounds.
Redress with melonin padding, cotton between toes and dressed up legs with cotton wadding and finally bandaged with vet wrap which came in some wonderful colours!!!

Susie was well loved at the surgery and was allowed free access around the practice and liked to sit behind the desk with the staff.

After Susie had had a rest in the afternoon, it was time once again for her dressings to be changed.

4pm to 6pm
Dressings redressed and routine was once again repeated. Susie was a very patient dog and laid on her back quite calmly while the nurses tended her paws.  She was a forgiving dog, after all that she had been through.

This routine was repeated twice a day all through the week and we will now been going into the third week of treatment and the bill is already well over £1,000 at present.

We are now into Susie’s third week and she has been allowed home. Whilst Susie at the time had been going home with the nurses to continue on her care, I had been learning how to dress her paws and was allowed for the first time on Wednesday to have Susie home with us .I was given all the bandages and ointments and was allowed at last to take Susie home.

She seemed to enjoy being home and seeing her friends Troy and Jess and this seemed to boost her happiness. She had her appetite back and played with the others and seemed to be at last enjoying her life!!

Even though at times the dressing routine could be tedious and Susie obviously experienced some pain, she still laid on her back for hours at a time for me to be able to dress her paws. She even had her own little audience, as Troy and Jess sat on the sofa watching what I was doing. They seemed to know what was going on and waited just as patiently to finish so they could all play!!

Even though Susie has been home, we have been back to the vets to check on my handy work and that the wounds are healing correctly. She has to be closely monitored still, as she has two toes on her left front paw that are fused and at the moment are a cause for concern.

Susie went back to the vets for the weekend and Kim from the Feltwell Surgery, who has had night duties, has been looking after her at her home which I am very grateful for immensely.

Currently Susie is back with us at home with me tending her dressings and she is due for another check up on Wednesday.

Susie is such a warm, friendly loyal dog who saved her owner by alerting her to the fire and nearly lost her life through her horrific burns. She has been through so much for such a little dog. She fought through terrible pain whilst having her wounds dressed daily and confusion at first from not knowing where she was. To come to trust and love the people that helped to save her life and now who are helping her overcome her fears. She is a remarkable dog for coming through that alone.  And at the end of it all still wag her tail!!!

I am extremely proud to walk Susie down my street when we go for our walks and she loves to wear her special boots to stop her bandages from getting wet. She knows when it is time I say” come and get ya shoes on Susie!!” and up she comes with a wag and lays down for me to pop them on she’s the best!!!

My sister is now out of hospital but much the same as Susie she has a long way to go. She is now living with my mum and dad with her two little girls and Susie is very much part of their family and is missed very much.

Thank you so much for all your help Helen and will keep you in touch with Susie’s progress.

Lots of love Stacey and Susie

Posted on September 12th, 2019

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