Support quality local journalism. Become a subscriber.

Didn't get a chance to finish your story? Purchase a day pass digital subscription and you'll receive unlimited online access for one day (24 hours). You will have immediate access upon completion of your purchase.

Dogs on the mend

A pair of 5-year-old Great Dane/Mastiff mix dogs, Alley and Willow, are recovering from smoke inhalation following a fire in Cedar Falls. They are pictured with their owner, Sara Roberts, along with members of the Cedar Falls Public Safety Department and Taylor Veterinary Clinic.

CEDAR FALLS – Two dogs are on the road to recovery after a fire in their Cedar Falls home Tuesday night, June 4.

The Cedar Falls Public Safety Department was on the scene following a 911 call when neighbors noticed smoke coming from inside 1310 Hawthorne Drive in Cedar Falls late Tuesday. The Public Safety team, consisting of seven public safety officers and three firefighters, worked together to extinguish the fire and discovered the two dogs unconscious in a bedroom in the east end of the house. The owners were not home at the time of the fire.

“The dogs were huge, there was one over 150 pounds, and we had to carry them out by their legs and haul them out to safety,” Assistant Police Chief and Public Safety Officer Craig Berte recalls.

The two dogs, named Alley and Willow, were 5-year-old Great Dane/Mastiff mixes. After they were safely out of the house, paramedics from MercyOne immediately began resuscitation.

“They appeared lifeless and they put oxygen on them. 30 minutes passed and they weren’t responding,” Police Chief Jeff Olson said. “But then we heard a woman screaming. It was the homeowner who had just arrived. As soon as the dogs heard her voice, their tails started wagging.”

The owner, Sara Roberts, was just returning home from work when she had seen the fire trucks and an ambulance and her first thoughts immediately went to her two dogs. She expressed her gratitude to the firefighters and public safety officers for their commitment to save them.

“I can’t thank them enough for what they’ve done.” Sara said.

After an overnight stay at Taylor Veterinary Hospital in Cedar Falls, the two dogs were reunited with their owner and ready to go home.

“They are doing fine, they still have a small cough but will make a full recovery,” Dr. Wendy, Veterinarian at Taylor, said. “The cough is normal as they clear the smoke from their lungs and it will go away. Thankfully the firefighters responded so fast and the dogs were able to get oxygen quickly. It saved them.”

Fire Chief John Bostwick and Assistant Police Chief Berte, along with Public Safety Lieutenant John Zolondek, were on hand at Taylor Veterinary Hospital to check in on the dogs’ progress with their owner Wednesday morning, June 5.

Lieutenant Zolendek had been the one to administer the dogs with their life-saving oxygen masks the night of the fire.

“It’s amazing to see how they are doing now versus how they were just last night, “Chief Bostwick said. “It’s just really incredible.”

The damage from the fire was isolated to the bathroom. The rest of the home suffered heat and smoke damage. The cause of the fire has not been determined.