APOPKA, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - The team at Apopka Fire Station 5 went from no fire dog to 8 of them after saving an unexpected visitor.
Last month a stray dog was spotted struggling outside the department’s main station in downtown Apopka. A woman passing by stopped into the department and alerted paramedic Lt. Renee Beasley to the situation.
Beasley said the situation was very clear when she walked out the door. "Went outside and saw her and she was pregnant,” said Lt. Beasley. Pregnant, malnourished, and clearly not doing well.
Having lived on a farm and worked with animals in the past, Beasley took the dog to a local vet who confirmed she was pregnant and that the stray had been having a very difficult time on the streets.
"Even though she was pregnant with her belly she was extremely underweight. She also had about nine 12 nails in her stomach; probably from ravaging for food,” she said.
So Beasley took the dog to her family home and personally delivered a litter of eight puppies from her. Despite the rough condition of the mom, whom Beasley’s husband named Lady, seven of the eight puppies survived.
Beasley could only take care of the litter and nurse Lady back to health so much though as duty came calling for her as a mom and a paramedic. That’s where her team at Station 5 stepped up.
The firefighters at the station began taking shifts stopping by to care for the dogs; even welcoming them into the station. The puppies began growing strong and Lady started a strong recovery. Then when the Department began showing off the litter and their story on social media, the community stepped up to play ‘dog parents’ too.
"Our community has a huge heart and everyone's reached out to try and help out,” said Beasley.
Helping cover costs for vet care, food, anything the dogs could need. A long list of names quickly formed as well for potential adopters looking to give the puppies their forever homes.
Beasley said the litter, now about four weeks old, mostly have future homes lined up or in the works.
One of the pups, as well as Lady will stay with Lt. Beasley.
“We've become very bonded with her," she said.
Until the dogs all settle in to their new lives and new homes though, it was clear Friday that they had no shortage of love as the firefighters at Station 5 cared for their unofficial fire dogs.