Lacombe County’s fire chief is caring for a dog that suffered extensive burns.
Drayton Bussiere and his wife Brittany have been fostering with the Saving Grace Animal Society in Alix for more than a year and a half.
Chuckling, Bussiere agrees it’s fitting for a fire chief to foster a dog that has burns on more than 50 per cent of its body.
“But that’s not why we brought her on,” he adds.
“We like to take on challenging medical cases, so we foster a lot of puppies, but we also fostered a couple of really neglected and malnourished dogs for them,” he said.
Phoenix, a one-year-old pooch, arrived in Red Deer with extensive burns on more than half of her body from central Saskatchewan.
Saving Grace executive director Erin Deems, who has been in conversations with the RCMP, said the dog was tied to a fence and there was a grass fire nearby.
“The grass fire was intentional … and it was left unattended and it got to her fence and then burned her,” Deems said.
The Bussieres reached out to the society, and Deems thought “it was a really good fit, because her story hit really close to home for them.”
The family – including two eight year olds, one six year old and a dog named Maya – welcomed Phoenix into their Lacombe home about two weeks ago.
The family was interested in helping her out, Bussiere said.
When she arrived, Phoenix was on pain medication three times a day, antibiotics twice a day, and required hydrotherapy with antibiotic cream twice a day as well.
“I guess I have some experience with that kind of stuff, yeah,” the fire chief said with a chuckle.
Phoenix is a very gentle and loving dog, he added.
Maya, the family’s three-year-old rescue dog, has been setting an example for Phoenix.
“It took them a couple of days to get used to each other, but they’re definitely buddies now,” Bussiere said.
Bussiere and Deems said Phoenix gets along with children and other dogs and has been acting like a normal puppy despite her burns.
Deems said the burns are healing quicker than expected. When she arrived in Red Deer, she spent a week in 24-hour care and a week at home with a veterinary technician before moving to her foster home.
She added Phoenix’s recovery will take another few weeks.
Close to $6,000 was raised for Phoenix’s recovery. Saving Grace Animal Society is still looking for donations to help with Phoenix’s recovery. Donations can be sent to email@example.com.