Selma community fights for dog injured in storm

Published 7:26 am Tuesday, June 20, 2023

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The storms that came through Dallas County on Wednesday caused damage all over the place. People in Valley Grande and Selma had trees in their yards and some had minor damage to their homes. For Latarsha Rivers of Selma, the storms caused more than minor damage. Rivers lives on Matthew Lane in Selma and when she heard that the storms were coming last week she had to make a decision.

“It’s a horrific thing that people have to live in such a way that they have to leave when a storm comes and they have to leave their pets which she was left with doing,” Valley Creek Veterinarian Dr. Frances Kendrick said. “She knows she has to get her family out. She has to be torn with the idea of what does she do with her pets? So, she does the best she can. She leaves her pets in the crates and leaves them secured.”

The three dogs Lefe, Zeus and Bella were left in their crates while Rivers and her daughter went to find shelter.

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Rivers soon got a phone call from her neighbor asking her if she was alright and that’s how she found out her house was on fire.

Fire Station 3, Fire Station 5 and Craig Volunteer Fire came to the aid of Rivers and they went in to help rescue the dogs in the house.

“When we got to the scene of the fire there were already firefighters already there,” Rivers said. “They had already brought two dogs out. Actually one brought one out and then someone else got the other two so three in all. The other two got minor scars but she (Bella) got the worst. I noticed that she was moving around and sore and she didn’t want us to pick her up and thats when I saw the burns that she had on her.”

Kendrick said it meant a lot for those firefighters to go into a burning house and rescue those dogs.

“I’m so very thankful that there are brave people that will go to the point to rescue any kind of life,” Kendrick said. “Weather it be human life or pet lives. I don’t want to put a priority of a pet over a human but God bless those firemen who went in there and got her dogs.”

When the three dogs were saved Rivers got them to Kendrick.

“It was early that morning we took them to the vet,” Rivers said. “When we got there they told us she’s really scarred real bad. They were going to shave her down bald that way they could see how burned she got.”

It was at Valley Creek Vet that the injuries of little Bella started to become clearer.

“It became apparent what happened later on,” Kendrick said. “Two of the dogs were in wire crates. The third dog was in a plastic crate and the plastic crate melted around the dog… Over two-thirds of the dogs body suffered massive burns.”

With Bella’s injuries so severe a hard decision had to be made.

“We were standing in the exam room and when I am talking to a client we have to decide what is financially feasible for a client,” Kendrick said. “That plays into what level of care we are able to give. We asses the situation of the pet and is it cruel for us to even try to put the pet through treatment because this dog was in a lot of pain. When I talked to her about euthanasia her daughter, who had just lost everything, and was fixing to lose who favorite pet burst into tears. I couldn’t take it. I had to leave the exam room because I was going to start crying too. So I do what I do. I go and I call some very kind-hearted people with resources that can help. One of those sources was Wannabe Rescued. We call them and some other charitable people and ask them to make a donation to Wannabe Rescued so that should we be able to provide care and if finances were off the table what would she want to do? She said can we just try to give her a shot?” 

With all the help and treatment unfortunately Bella could not hold on. Even though Rivers and her daughter lost Bella they were able to get Zeus and Lefe back on Monday. Rivers said that if it wasn’t for the fire stations and Dr. Kendrick she wouldn’t have Zeus and Lefe today.

“I just want to tell her (Kendrick) thank you for going the extra mile and doing everything she could to make phone calls for the donations to even try to fight for my baby,” Rivers said. “Her seeing my baby crying and stuff it did something and we were all emotional and we were crying all together. They did all they could to save her but at least we did give it a try. I want to thank everyone who helped donate and helped save my dogs. I want to thank her for doing what she needed to do to protect my babies… I want to thank Fire Department 3,5 and Craig Volunteer for responding quickly and being there for me the whole time.”

Kendrick urged everyone with all the storms going on to make sure that pets are taken care of and that pet owners take all the precautions they can in case an emergency happens.

“Keep a sticker at your back door or someplace on your home that alerts people to know that you have pets in your home,” Kendrick said. “That’s always important to me and always get your pets microchipped because you never know when a storm is going to come and where your pets are going to wind up.”