Vets fight to save hero dog who tried to shield owner from house fire

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By Doug Criss

(February 11, 2015) — Deadly flames licked all around her, but a heroic dog in a suburban Cincinnati basement refused to leave her owner. Now that dog, a 9-year-old boxer named Carmen, has a team of vets fighting around the clock to save her life.

Carmen was injured Thursday when a fire broke out in the basement of the home where she lived with her owner, Ben Ledford, in Goshen Township, Ohio.

First responders on the scene found Carmen, a 9-year-old boxer, on top of Ledford, trying to shelter his face from the heat, smoke and flame, according to CNN affiliate WCPO.

Ledford, 33, was taken to a hospital where he later died. Carmen ended up at Cincinnati’s Care Center, a critical care veterinary hospital, where the vets placed her on a ventilator. They were finally able to wean her off of the oxygen yesterday, and she is breathing on her own.

“She’s doing OK. Considering what Carmen has been through we think she’s doing as well as can be expected,” Dr. Daniel Carey, a vet at the hospital, told WCPO.

Carey said Carmen is battling severe lung damage, and it’s a miracle that she’s able to breathe through her nose.

Carmen has also shown improvement in other areas. She is mentally alert and showing no signs of neurological problems, the vet said.

Dr. Marlo Anderson, another vet at the hospital who is caring for the dog, told WCPO she was not at all surprised that Carmen tried to save her owner.

“A lot of dogs instinctively know when there’s a crisis going on and so a lot of them do go to try to protect their owners, so she very well may have been trying to protect him,” she said.

Ledford’s family and friends, while mourning the loss of his life, are still doing what they can to help Carmen save hers. They’ve turned to crowdsourcing website CrowdRise to raise funds to help pay Carmen’s hospital bills.

According to the CrownRise website, Carmen’s owner, Ben, was laid to rest Tuesday. Ben’s brother, Philip, will be taking Carmen home if we get there, though she will continue to have the love and care of the entire Ledford Family.