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Veterinary Emergency & Specialty Hospital (VESH) - Wichita

Paw It Forward Success - Ruffes

Staff comforting dog on floor

Rebecca and her husband used to have five dogs that all loved playing together in their big yard. Rufus was the youngest, and his best buddy was Cabo.

"I got Ruffes as a birthday present for my husband last January. He just loved him," Becky says. All that ended when their house burned to the ground. They lost everything, including three of their dogs, one of which was Cabo. Ruffes survived, in fact, it appears another dog in the house laid over him, protecting him from the flames. Ruffes spent the first night in a hotel room with his owners. They said that he coughed, gagged and vomited all night.

When Ruffes came to us our recommendation was to hospitalize him for supportive care, with oxygen supplement, and perform diagnostics.

His family, who had lost everything in the fire, were approved for a Paw It Forward grant to get Ruffes back on his feet. "It gave us the opportunity to treat him. Otherwise we would have had to euthanize him. We had just lost three of our dogs, I can't imagine having to put another one to sleep," Becky explained.  Ruffes had suffered severe second and third degree burns, along with smoke inhalation. Initially his skin wounds would require several treatments a day followed by wound management for several weeks. We continued pain medications, antibiotics, and other supportive care along with daily wound cleaning, debridement, laser therapy, and bandaging. At some point, we would need to teach his owners how to care for his wounds when he was stable enough to return home. In the early days, Ruffes required sedation for his daily bandage changes, because his wounds were too painful to handle while awake.

Within four days of the incident, he was eagerly eating, helping his healing rate.

By the sixth day, he was able to return home. He needed to return daily for bandage changes, but was eventually weaned from the daily sedation. "He has a long way to go, physically and emotionally", Becky said. "But having Ruffes home helps our family heal. When we see him it feels like we haven't quite lost everything. He helps me heal, and I help him. I want to do all I can for him and I just keep praying."

She went on to say "The doctors and staff have been so great. I can't say enough good things about them. They love him, they're invested in him and I appreciate them so much. When I take him in every day they're so happy to see him. They've made this whole process easier on us."