When firefighters Mike Stageman, Joshua Adell, Bentley Andres and Zac Bass pulled a badly-burned puppy from the wreckage of a burning Asheville, North Carolina home in October, they didn’t expect her to make it. Still, they put the tiny black and white pup named Hex on oxygen and hoped for the best.
"She had kind of nuzzled herself underneath a pile of clothes and I could just barely see a little bit of movement for her belly,” Bass told WLOS. “I put her on oxygen. She was completely lifeless and felt like a rag-doll at that point.”
It took 20 minutes, but with a wag of her little tail, she finally showed signs of life. Quickly, the firefighters rushed her off to the Regional Emergency Animal Care Hospital of Asheville (R.E.A.C.H.) for treatment.
At just two months old, Hex was suffering from smoke inhalation and had severe burns to her head and ears. Later, she was put in the care of Asheville Humane Society and transferred to Animal Hospital of North Asheville where, Fox Atlanta reports, she received numerous skin grafts and the life-saving surgeries she needed.
It was a long road, but Hex is a fighter, and just last week she was finally healthy enough to thank her rescuers. In a video of their reunion shared by the Asheville Fire Department, Hex, dressed in an adorable red dress, can’t stop wiggling as she plants puppy kisses on the faces of the men who saved her life.
The best part? Hex now has a forever home and a new name. The little pup now goes by Aya, which, as her new mom tells the Asheville Humane Society, means “beautiful miracle” and also symbolizes “endurance and a good soul.”
"We are ecstatic that's she's doing well and she's doing happy and found an awesome new home," said Bass. "We can't wait to have her by the station. I volunteered for babysitting if her owner will let her come over and play with my Golden. I would love that."