The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


July 4, 2014

Burned pooch healing

Veterinarians working to aid skin growth

— WILLIAMSPORT — A 10-year-old German shepherd dog rescued but badly burned in a three-alarm farm fire a month ago is doing well but has a long road ahead of her to full recovery, said the Williamsport firefighter who rescued the animal.

Karen Poust, who suffered burns to her right hand saving the dog, now called Angel, in the Gregg Township dairy farm fire May 31 said she too is doing fine, her fingers and palm now healing.

Poust brought Angel home Monday from Metzger Animal Hospital in State College, where the dog was taken for further treatment after initial care at Animal Emergency Center of Central Pennsylvania near Watsontown.

Angel had come home once before since the fire, but a very large scab on her back came off and she returned to the animal hospital for treatment, Poust said. Happy Valley Animals in Need, of Port Matilda, is covering the dog’s medical costs.

Angel suffered burns over 80 percent of her body, Poust said, doctors having discovered more damaged tissue after a few days of treatment. The dog is now undergoing sugar wraps for her damaged skin.

Poust said the vets sprinkle simple table sugar on the skin, helping to keep wounds from getting infected and drawing out extra moisture, which helps wounds and skin heal. After gentle rinsing and drying to remove dead tissue, the sugar is applied and the injured area wrapped in bandages. Angel’s wraps are changed about every two or three days, and the therapy appears to be working, Poust said, with healthier skin appearing at each wrap.

Lewis Veterinary Clinic in Linden, about 10 miles west of Williamsport, agreed to take over Angel’s care and treatment so Poust would not have to travel to State College, she said.

Veterinarians are pleased with Angel’s progress, Poust said, but estimate it will take about a year for the dog to fully recover. She is walking now, albeit gingerly because of severe burns to her paw pads. Poust is now fostering the dog in hope of adopting her, and trying to get her on a routine feeding and sleep schedule. The dog also is on pain medication.

The May 31 three-alarm fire caused about $200,000 in damage to the Allenwood dairy farm of Henry and Mary Lapp, who had the farm insured. Angel had been chained to a beam in a barn that was ablaze.

Poust, 48, and Dusty Treese, 45, both of Williamsport, were on their way to a fishing spot near the farm, Poust said, when they saw the smoke. They stopped to offer aid when Poust saw the dog dragging the beam, its fur smoldering.

Poust grabbed the chain, she said, which was so hot it burned three fingers and the palm of her right hand.

Donations have slowed down, Poust said, but interest in Angel has spread over the country to as far as California, and to countries such as Australia and the United Kingdom. People interested in the dog’s progress can follow it on “Angel’s Journey,” on the Happy Valley Animals in Need Facebook page.

Happy Valley is covering cost. Donations for Angel’s care may be made by PayPal to Happy Valley Animals in Need. People may contact for information.

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