Tampa airman reunites with dogs after fire

Posted at 6:29 PM, Jan 01, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-01 18:29:56-05

It’s a New Year’s miracle.

“They are all very, very lucky,” said veterinarian Lauren Harris.

Three dogs are almost fully recovered after suffering severe smoke inhalation from a house fire.

“Just smoke inhalation alone and carbon monoxide poisoning; half of dogs may not survive,” Harris said.

When Airman Alex Rodriguez came home from working at MacDill Air Force Base, he feared the worst.

“As soon as I walked in the door there was smoke and soot all over the ground and [I] saw paw prints in the soot. My German Shepard got out of his cage,” Rodriguez said.

The accidental fire happened a week before Christmas. Losing everything and on the brink of losing his best friends, too, he rushed them to Blue Peal Veterinary in Tampa.

“They were getting worse and worse. They told me when I brought them here that it would get worse before it got better,” said Rodriguez, “as soon as those words left their mouth, I lost it. I never have been as emotional as that before.”

Oxygen and antibiotics have worked their magic.

The treatment made all possible thanks to the community. The bills totaled $25,000. The nonprofit Frankie’s Friends took care of the majority of it.

Now two weeks later, Rodriguez is able to bring Cache, Cyl and Emma to his new home.

It’s a new beginning and healthy start to 2016. Rodriguez couldn't ask for a better resolution. 

“I have a nice house now, a giant back yard to play in. They are going to get spoiled this year,” Rodriguez said.