By Max Hrenda
With second- and third-degree burns covering nearly half of her body, it looked like Sadie Blackwell was going to die.
Sadie, a 6-year-old Australian blue heeler, was trapped in a fire that destroyed her human family’s house three weeks ago.
But thanks to donations from thousands of online supporters, her veterinary care has been fully paid, and she is on the road to recovery.
Now some of those supporters want that road to lead beyond recovery.
So, through the guidance of Sadie’s vet, Dr. Kate Zimmerman, donations are being collected to buy Sadie and her human family a new home to replace the one they lost.
After hearing that a community of people she has never met was working to buy her family a house, Lori Blackwell – Sadie’s “mom” – was in a state of disbelief.
“We just don’t know what to think about it,” Blackwell said. “We’re still kind of traumatized from this happening just three weeks ago. It’s all kind of amazing to us.”
Amazement aside, Blackwell still wanted to let all her – and Sadie’s – supporters know how much her family appreciated them.
“We are just so, so thankful,” Blackwell said. “I just want to say ‘thank you’ to everyone. We feel so blessed.”
On Nov. 21, on a windy Thursday afternoon, the Blackwells’ mobile home at 114 Mountain Ridge Lane, Roan Mountain, was consumed by flames. Lori Blackwell and her husband, Jason, arrived after the fire had done most of the damage, and saw the flaming, twisted pile of wreckage that was their home.
“I didn’t know what to think,” Blackwell said. “I couldn’t understand what was going on at the time. But the first thing we said was, where’s Sadie?”
Neighbors would later tell the Blackwells that they saw Sadie running down the road away from the house, but that she did not emerge unscathed.
“They said she was badly burned on her face, and there was smoke coming off her back,” Blackwell said. “We thought the worst.”
Over the next two days, the Blackwells would revisit the property in the hopes of finding Sadie. At around 2 p.m. on Nov. 23, Blackwell’s 13-year-old daughter Haley found a severely burned Sadie taking shelter underneath a camper top.
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