|A Special Hero|
Heroes come from all walks of life—some are in the military, some are teachers, some are just the neighbor next door. However, this particular hero is extra special—she’s a 3-year-old boxer named Lacy and she saved her family’s life.
Lacy came to live with the Martins at the end of December 2006. Rachelle Martin’s best friend manages apartment complexes and her new complex didn’t allow animals. Rachelle had recently lost her 10-year-old boxer, so it was a natural fit. Her and husband, David, live outside of Stillwater with their 9-year-old daughter and two foster children—a 5-year-old daughter and a 3-year-old son. They had known Lacy only four days when she did something that would change their lives forever.
“It was January 4th. The children had been particularly unsettled that night,” recalls Rachelle. “They were fussy and it was late. I asked my husband if he would mind sleeping in the kids’ room at the other end of the house. I would have the children stay in our room where I could settle them down so everyone could get a good night’s sleep.”
Around 4 a.m., Lacy was whimpering and pacing in the house. As she ran back into the bedroom again, David figured she had to go outside. As he started toward the door, he thought it was awfully bright for 4 o’clock in the morning. Then he realized what Lacy wanted and began screaming.
“I’ll never forget the tone of his voice. Our inflatable snow globe and the front porch were on fire,” says Rachelle. “Before our smoke alarms went off, Lacy sensed the danger and woke us. David had to walk through smoke to get to the other end of the house to help me and the children out safely.”
The home was a total loss. They had nothing but each other and Lacy. However, the Stillwater community was there to help. Their church took a special collection for money to buy food, clothing and personal items. The youth minister had recently left to lead his own church so the Martins were able to stay in his vacant home next to the church. The students at Richmond School sold hand-made jewelry and took up collections to buy her 9-year-old a replacement guitar and sound equipment.
“Everyone has been wonderful,” smiles Rachelle. “This is a great place to raise a family; the people are so kind and caring. We have two horses, four rabbits and now this beautiful dog that saved our lives.”
Members of Alpha Psi Veterinary Fraternity heard about the Martins’ tragedy and decided to help. As President of Alpha Psi, Carla Prahl, a 3rd year veterinary student at the Oklahoma State University Center for Veterinary Health Sciences approached the Center’s Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital and some of the animal product companies to see if they could help-and they did.
“The American Animal Hospital Association Student Chapter and Merial donated Heartgard and Frontline products,” says Prahl. “Hills and Purina provided pet food. Oxbow gave them rabbit food. DermaPet contributed an assortment of dog and horse shampoos and products.”
Dr. Paul DeMars, Chief of Small Animal Medicine, provided veterinary services for Lacy. Since her vaccination record literally went up in smoke, new veterinary healthcare records needed to be established. Lacy was treated by 4th year veterinary student Ann Vestal and Dr. DeMars. Lacy received a physical exam and required vaccinations including a rabies shot. And she is getting one more thing.
As Lacy’s veterinarian, Dr. DeMars is nominating her for induction into the Oklahoma Veterinary Medical Association’s (OVMA) Animal Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame was organized in 1987 to acknowledge animals that show unselfish and courageous service to their owners. One of the three categories is “hero-an animal that has saved or preserved human life.”
“Thanks to Lacy alerting her owners of the fire, they were able to get out of the house safely,” says Dr. DeMars. “Who knows if they would have been able to do that by the time the home filled with enough smoke to set off the smoke alarms? She truly saved their lives.”
The OVMA nominations are due in October and inductees will be announced in January 2008.