"Big or small, those in need can count on the Plymouth Fire Department for help."
Though this story couldn't have gotten off to a more tragic start, it's got an ending that's undeniably happy — if just a touch ironic.
In January, a dog named Lexi Ann was brought to Ruff Start — a dog rescue group in Princeton, Minnesota — with severe burns all over body, having survived a "horrible" house fire. Her condition was so bad, her owners had left her at a vet to be euthanized, according to this Facebook post.
Indeed, the fire and its consequences were devastating: Ruff Start says it killed a number of the family's pets, including Lexi Ann's own puppies. She was only able to escape because her plastic kennel "literally melted around and onto her," allowing her to break free.
Her wounds were grievous. They included "dozens of horrible burns on her feet, sides, nipples, and face." Additionally, Ruff Start says, "some of the burns (were) down to the muscle."
But she managed to cling to life, and gradually recovered with the help of a foster family and a "very strong will to live."
And now, she's found a forever home — with a firefighter and his family:
The firefighter, who Ruff Start identifies as "Travis," apparently caught wind of Lexi Ann's story on Instagram and "instantly fell in love."
There was just one problem: he lives in Indiana, and Ruff Start doesn't typically do out-of-state adoptions. But as you can probably guess, they made an exception, and on Saturday, Travis and his family "brought their RV 11 hours to meet Lexi Ann" and bring her home.
And the story doesn't end there: Ruff Start says Travis plans to bring Lexi to a camp for burn victims in Indiana to "help (them) with their own healing."
According to the American Human Society, more than 500,000 pets are affected by house fires every year. The organization recommends including them in your family emergency plan, and practicing taking them with you.
They also recommend putting a decal in your home's front window indicating the number and type of pets you have, as doing so can "cut down on the time responders spend searching your home in the case of a fire."