I can’t imagine what it would be like to see or feel a fire overtake my entire house. It’s one of my worst fears, actually – especially when I am away from home. The thought of flames engulfing my belongings, ripping down the walls that protect me and my family from the elements… immeasurable heat that has more physical power than I will ever have, mercilessly trying to destroy everything I’ve ever loved.

While this scenario has, for me, never become a reality, it has for others. It happened last week for a family in the greater metro area whose entire house burnt to the ground. It sounds like something that only happens in movies, not real life; but it happened, and there were – as there would be if it happened to you or me – real world consequences, too. While I’ve never met this family, my heart hurts for them when I think about it. That sort of pain is not something I’d wish upon anybody; I can’t imagine how it feels to see everything you worked for and called home collapsing into charred remnants, nothing left to show for your previous life but piles of ashes on ground.

You might be wondering how, while this is a terribly sad story, this story involves animals. This is where I will tell you that the house that burnt down caught fire with all the animals in the home inside. Two cats, two dogs, a litter of puppies. And as saddening and upsetting as this is already, a spoiler alert for you: most of those animals died. None of them survived, except for one of the dogs. Her name? Lexi Ann.

Lexi was in a plastic kennel in the home when it went up in flames. I can’t fathom what it felt like for her, to feel that gradual heat slip into the room and continue climbing, flames twirling around the kennel she thought she was safe in while she slept. The plastic of the kennel began melting, burning her hair and piercing her skin. This is a horrific thought, yes, but in truth, it’s the only reason she survived and it’s, weirdly, something I am grateful for. After enough of her kennel burnt down into a melted puddle of plastic, Lexi broke free and was able to exit the home, joining her human family outdoors while they all watched the house get taken down by flames. I’ve been told that her family had to physically restrain her from entering the burning home again as she tried to go back into the house to save her puppies, which breaks my heart into a million pieces. All this happened while she bled and blistered from her wounds herself.

In the immediate aftermath of such an awful experience, Lexi was unfortunately in for more. After losing their home and all possessions, Lexi’s family felt emotionally and financially unable to provide her with the care she needed to heal from her wounds. As such, they brought her to a veterinary clinic to euthanize her. Luckily, one of the vet techs at the clinic fell in love with Lexi and asked if she could take the poor dog in instead of putting her to sleep. Lexi’s previous family agreed.

Knowing full well she wouldn’t be able to fund Lexi’s ongoing care herself, the vet tech who saved her precious life reached out to Ruff Start for help. With little hesitation, we said we’d take on her expenses. Most dogs would deserve that sort of a second chance, but this dog was even brave enough to survive a burning building and try to save her own puppies. Who would be more deserving of a chance at an extraordinary life than her?

Now, in rescue, Lexi’s hair – what’s left of it, anyway – is singed and frayed. She has dozens of horrible burns covering her entire body, including her face. She has a large ulcer over one eye. Yet her tail still wags and she is quiet in a kennel, grateful to still be alive and comfortable despite her wounds and the intentions of others.

Right now, Lexi’s first veterinary expenses have totaled $1,100. We have no idea what her upcoming vet bills will entail at this time but I can’t imagine they’ll be cheap. I do know that she is worth it, though, and we will do whatever it takes to make her healthy again. I’d say happy, too, but she seems to be that already.

Please consider helping fund
Lexi’s veterinary care.

With your help, we will be able to rehabilitate this poor girl and find her a home deserving of her loyalty and love.

We’ll continue to update you about Lexi’s story via email, blog, and the rescue’s social media channels when possible. Her foster family has also created Lexi an Instagram for her journey. You can follow her at @lexi.gets.better.