Reporting Bob Roberts
CHICAGO (CBS) – There’s optimistic news about several of the dogs rescued Monday from the burning home of an apparent hoarder in the northwest side Jefferson Park neighborhood.
“They seem pretty happy right now,” said veterinarian Dr. Andy Orals. “We’re all getting kind of attached to them.”
The five are all poodle mixes weighing between 9 and 16 pounds, are between 5-1/2 months and 12 years of age, and make little noise. During a 15-minute interview with Dr. Orals, the dogs made no noise at all.
A couple still shake, and one remains on an IV line, but Orals is upbeat.
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When fire raced through the two-story home on the 5000 block of West Winona Street, neighbors took it upon themselves to attempt rescues when the owner was too severely burned.
An update on his condition was not available late Thursday.
Not all of the dogs made it. Some died in the fire.
Orals said one dog had only 10-20 percent of lung capacity left afterward because of the smoke it inhaled, and died early Tuesday, despite efforts to keep it in an oxygen tent.
The others were “lined up” to go into surgery Monday night to care for burns, matting, corneal (eye) ulcerations caused by the fire, and other problems.
Initially, all were on IV lines and oxygen, and the medication was being heated in order to address the dogs’ hypothermia, but Orals said the conditions of the five remaining dogs have all improved. Only one is still being given medication intravenously.
Orals said many people would think that the dogs would be overly hot, because of their proximity to the fire, but he said all were doused with cold water during their rescue, and became even colder as they awaited transport to the animal hospital. He said their temperatures had dropped from a normal 102 degrees to the mid-90s.
One of the rescuers has asked Orals to be given the first shot to adopt the dog, known only as #5, which he rescued from the home. Orals said he hopes to speak with Animal Control representatives over the next couple of days to determine whether they will be put up for adoption, and if so, under what circumstances.
Orals said animal hoarding incidents of the type that firefighters discovered Monday remain relatively rare, despite several well-publicized cases in recent months. Published reports indicated the homeowner on Winona might have hoarded dogs and many other things for more than 20 years.