PALM HARBOR, FL – A puppy rescued rescued from a burning house will be sworn in as the official firehouse dog for Palm Harbor Fire Rescue during a ceremony on Oct. 12.
Ruby will receive her fire department badge and will begin her new life as a fire safety spokesdog for the department.
Ruby was only a few months old when she was burned in a house fire that took the life of her owner and the another dog in Blakey, Georgia.
After Blakey firefighters doused the flames, they searched for Ruby but couldn’t find her and assumed she perished in the fire.
A day or two later, when the other residents of the home returned to sift through their belongings, a severely burned Ruby emerged from behind the remains of the house.
She was quickly rushed to an emergency veterinarian who stabilized her. An animal rescue group in Alabama volunteered to take over costly expense to continue treating her third-degree burns.
Ruby spent more than a week in critical before she declared strong enough to be transported to Florida where the nonprofit Suncoast Animal League of Palm Harbor volunteered to continue her care.
Based on her injuries, veterinarians say the 3-month-old puppy most likely ran through the fire to escape. They said it was a miracle she survived.
Ruby has spent the last few months with Suncoast Animal League and her foster mom, Karey Burek.
“Ruby is ridiculously smart, learning to sit, give paw, lay down and roll over in a matter of days,” said Burek.
While Ruby was on the mend, the staff came up with an idea for a permanent home for Ruby.
“I received a call from Rick Chaboudy, director at Suncoast Animal League here in Palm Harbor, about the puppy who was burned and I thought what a better advocate for teaching fire safety to children than this little girl,” said Elizabeth Graham, fire rescue public education officer. “I went to my fire chief, Craig Maciuba, and with his support and the support of our Board of Fire Commissioners and our firefighters, the decision was made to adopt her.”
The adoption was finalized on Sept. 12. The firefighters say it was love at first site. And Ruby has already made herself at home at the fire station where she’s training to assist with the department’s public education outreach programs.
“She already knows how to stop, drop and roll, and we’ve been teaching her to crawl low (under smoke),” said Graham. “She’s a part of the family now and I can’t wait to see how many lives she will touch. She’s a survivor.”
The public is invited to Ruby’s swearing-in ceremony Oct. 12 at 2 p.m. at Palm Harbor Fire Rescue Station 65, 250 W. Lake Road.
The department is also collecting funds for Ruby’s continued medical expenses and to build a large fenced area for her to run and train in.
Anyone who would like to contribute can send a check made out to Palm Harbor Fire Rescue with Ruby on the memo line and mail it to Palm Harbor Fire Rescue, Station 65, 250 W. Lake Road, Palm Harbor.
The fire department also welcomes donations for dog food and treats for Ruby. She eats chicken-flavored Purina Puppy Chow and Zuke’s soft treats. Donations can be dropped off at Station 65.
Images via Palm Harbor Fire Rescue
Palm Harbor Fire Chief Craig Maciuba welcomes the newest member of the fire department.
The photo on the left shows a severely burned Ruby in July. Three months later, she’s nearly healed.
Staff at the Suncoast Animal League have been caring for Ruby.
Ruby waits in the car, anxious to see her new home at the fire station and meet her new family.
It was love at first sight for firefighters with Palm Harbor Fire Rescue.
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