Donations Pour in for Hero Boxer Who Shielded Dog Dad from House Fire

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FEB. 16, 2015 UPDATE: Carmen has been released from the hospital, an update today on the Carmen Ledford Crowdrise page reports.

“After almost two weeks of 24-hour care at Care Center, Carmen is strong enough to continue her recovery from home, with Ben’s brother, Phil and the watchful eye of the entire family,” according to the update.

“If it hadn’t been for the vet who rescued Carmen, the Care Center and the support and donations from friends, family and pet lovers from around the world, we would not have been able to provide Carmen with the level of care that has allowed her to walk out of the hospital today.”

As of Feb. 16, more than $29,000 has been raised for Carmen’s veterinary care.

carmen dog shielded owner from house fire

More than $28,000 has been raised to pay for the veterinary care of Carmen, a 9-year-old Boxer who suffered severe lung damage while trying to shield her dog dad, Ben Ledford, from a fire in a Goshen Township, Ohio, home Feb. 5.

Unfortunately, Ledford did not survive. If not for the around-the-clock care by veterinarians at Care Center in Cincinnati, Carmen would likely have died as well.

When firefighters arrived at the house, they found Carmen on top of Ledford in the basement, shielding his face from the thick, black smoke. Ledford was still breathing, but died a short time later at a hospital.

Carmen was rushed to Care Center in critical condition, and placed on a ventilator to enable her to breathe. By Tuesday, she was able to breathe without the ventilator.

“She’s doing very well. We’re very happy with where her progress is at this point,” Dr. Marlo Anderson, the hospital’s critical care specialist, told WCPO Feb. 10.

“Initially when we take them off the ventilator, there’s a chance she may need to go back on for a few hours as her body is adjusting … but so far she hasn’t needed any of that.”

Dr. Anderson said it was an especially good sign that Carmen was able to breathe through her nose. “Prior to her going on the ventilator, she was breathing very hard through her mouth,” she said. “Dogs breathe primarily through their nose, so anytime they are breathing through their mouth you know there is a problem.”

“She’s awake, aware and even moving around a bit,” wrote Ledford’s brother, Phil Ledford, on Carmen’s Crowdrise page Feb. 10. “It was good to see her recognize the family and respond to our voices.”

Ledford’s sister, Emily Ledford, told WCPO Ben and Carmen adored each other. “There was nothing in this world that Ben loved more than Carmen and there was nothing that Carmen loved more than Ben,” she said. Her brother was a big Ohio State University fan, she said, and had named his dog after “Carmen Ohio,” the university’s alma mater.

carmen shielded ben ledford from fire

Dr. Anderson said she wasn’t too surprised by Carmen’s heroic act. “A lot of dogs instinctively know when there’s a crisis going on, 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 told WCPO.

Carmen began physical therapy Wednesday, and continued to show signs of improvement during the week.

“Carmen is coming off fluids and IV medications today,” wrote Care Center on its Facebook page yesterday. “She still requires oxygen support at this time as her lungs continue to heal. She is eating and drinking on her own and will have some more rehabilitation today.

“Carmen is in good spirits and wags her adorable little nub tail to show it! She has started to give out some sweet doggie kisses to her family, Dr. Anderson and her technicians.”

Phil Ledford will adopt his brother’s beloved dog when Carmen is ready to leave the hospital.

“The ongoing support for Carmen, and Carmen’s family, has been overwhelmingly positive,” he wrote. “The family is humbled by the generosity being offered to help Carmen.”

For the latest updates on Carmen’s health, visit the Care Center Vets Facebook page.

Photos via FacebookCrowdwise.com