A very lucky dog who was pulled from a burning apartment building was honored — along with her rescuers — by the Santa Monica Fire Department on Wednesday.
Stella, a female boxer, had been home alone at her owner’s apartment in the 2600 block of Hill Street on the morning of Saturday, Sept. 14, when the complex was consumed by fire.
Responding firefighters searched the building for human survivors and found the dog hidden behind a mattress that was leaned against a wall. When a firefighter emerged onto the street, cradling the limp dog in his arms, a gathered crowd burst into applause.
That sound was again heard Wednesday when a fully recovered Stella happily kissed her owner’s face and wagged her way through the Santa Monica Fire Department, posing for pictures.
“We lost everything for the most part, but … as long as Stella is all right, all this stuff is going to be all right,” her owner said.
The dog survived the “horrible ordeal” thanks to her “strong will” and a donated animal oxygen mask, fire Chief Mark Bridges said. Firefighter spent about 10 minutes giving Stella 100 percent oxygen on the sidewalk outside the burning building, he said.
She was unconscious but eventually her eyes began to flicker and her breathing rate increased, he recalled.
“That was a big moment for us,” Bridges said.
Stella was taken to a local veterinarian for treatment. Upon her release, firefighters delivered a whole roast chicken to her when they heard she had flagging appetite, Bridges said.
On Wednesday, Stella received a box of dog treats, a new bowl with her name and that of the fire department on it, as well as a huge basket of pet goodies donated by the local Petco.
“Although many, many human lives are saved throughout the year by police and firefighters, you seldom hear of successful animal rescues,” Bridges said.