Ashley basked in the attention of the men who saved him at an appreciation ceremony at the Emergency Operations Center on Tuesday.
Ashley, one of five dogs saved from a wildfire in Daytona North on March 24, looked a lot better than he did when Flagler County firefighters Dennis Moore, Aaron Price and Brian Meehan responded to the blaze that threatened Barbara Banning’s home. Two of the five dogs, Harley and Ashley, suffered third-degree burns.
Flagler Humane Society Executive Director Amy Carotenuto thanked the fire fighters at the Flagler Emergency Operations Center on Tuesday, April 11, presenting them each with a framed certificate. She also gave them an engraved plaque to display at Fire Station 16 on Old Dixie Highway.
The ceremony was a special trip out for Ashley, who is still getting daily baths, special creams, and therapeutic laser treatments, with equipment donated by Companion Animals. Vet tech Jessica Handnagle has become Ashley’s personal nurse who performs these daily treatments.
The Bannings had been living in a trailer on the property and had just gotten the key to their new home the day of the wildfire. A home they hoped meant they would be able to keep all of their dogs.
“We were living in the trailer until we could find someone who would take us and our dogs,” Banning said. “I certainly wasn’t going anywhere without my dogs.”
Because of the medical expenses the Bannings had to make a difficult choice and surrendered Ashley to the Flagler Humane Society so he could get the treatment he needed. An adoption is in the works with someone who is familiar with the dog’s present and future medical needs.
Banning said she had left the house to pick up her daughter and there was no evidence of the impending disaster. In the short time she was gone a wildfire burning several blocks away jumped into her neighborhood and her backyard.
Banning raced toward the fire to save her animals. She grabbed Price and told him her dogs were penned in the yard. Harley, a Great Dane, dug himself a hole making the 120-pound dog more of a challenge to get out.
Both dogs have had extensive medical care at Flagler Animal Hospital and St. Francis Animal Hospital, a non-profit clinic in Jacksonville. Dr. Dimitrije Bogunovic, a veterinarian at Flagler Animal Hospital, spent his day off taking the dogs to the clinic for hyperbolic treatments. Harley wasn’t available to attend the award ceremony because he was on his way back to the Flagler Animal Hospital after spending several days at the Jacksonville clinic getting additional hyperbolic treatments.
The dogs’ care has been made possible by nearly $4,000 in donations from the community. With Harley’s unexpected medical needs, Carotenuto is hoping the donations continue.
Banning thanked everyone and then pointed directly at Price and said, “I couldn’t have gotten him (Ashley) out of there on my own.”