Onyx, a 9-month-old pit bull terrier, suffered burns to his face and neck when he alerted his family to a fire at 2 a.m. Sept. 26, 2013.(Photo: Tallahassee Fire Department)
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- A 9-month-old pit bull terrier who saved his family from an early morning fire was burned over as much as 30% of his body, but veterinarians said Friday they hope to send him home in two to three days.
At about 2 a.m. Thursday, Onyx began barking so loudly that he awakened his family, and Trevor Myres, Sierra Plair and their two sons were able to get out of the house safely. But when Myres found Onyx yelping on the patio outside, he noticed that the dog was on fire.
He quickly grabbed a hose and extinguished the flames on Onyx then took the hose to another section of the house where the fire had started. The Florida Fire Marshal's office is investigating the cause of the blaze, which caused about $5,000 damage to the couple's house.
"I honestly do feel like if Onyx wasn't out there, even though it's unfortunate, anything could have happened," Plair said. "Once it (the fire) got up to my son's room, we wouldn't have been able to go up there and get the kids out."
But the couple spent most of Thursday worrying that they might have to surrender Onyx to the Tallahassee Animal Service Center to get him the care he needed because the family didn't have enough money for the anticipated vet bills.
Onyx will require several weeks of treatment with antibiotics and pain medications to help his burns heal.
"We were at our wits' end," she said. "We were going to give him up because we didn't have money for treatment."
When staffers at the animal shelter realized that Onyx was a hero, they reached out to veterinarian Kevin Brumfield of Northwood Animal Hospital, who took on the task of treating the dog and raising money through the office's Facebook page.
Myers and Plair were able to visit Onyx on Friday at the animal hospital and had trouble holding back their emotions.
"I'm just so happy that he's getting the treatment that he needs and that he deserves," Plair said.
Sean Rossman, Tallahassee Democrat