MARTINS FERRY A traumatic series of events has turned into a happy ending for one local canine as the dog that survived the raging house fire on Vineway St. on Tuesday evening now has a permanent home.
It's fitting that the dog, now known as Sparky, will reside in the home of one of the brave men who helped battle the blaze he was trapped in.
Following the fire, the dog was taken in by a local family to foster after Fire Chief Jack Regis learned that the dog's previous owner no longer wished to keep the dog.
T-L Photo/MIKE HUGHES
Seven-year-old Lanee Matz and her sister 9-year-old Alivia play with Sparky inside their Martins Ferry home. Their father, Justin Matz, a captain with the Martins Ferry Fire Department’s Vigilants Engine Company, decided to adopt the dog after he was rescued from a Tuesday night blaze in town.
An outpouring of support on the Martins Ferry Concerned Citizens Facebook group led to an all-out search for new home for Sparky.
In the interim, Dr. Robert Carr of the Martins Ferry Animal Hospital provided the dog free medical care. Kroger in Martins Ferry donated food, treats and toys and Beauty Barks Day Spa in town gave Sparky a free visit with the works.
"Seeing the dog on the Concerned Citizens' page, I had to try and give it a loving home," said Justin Matz, the captain of the Vigilants Engine Company and one of the many members of the Ferry Fire Department responding to battle the fire. "I asked my wife about it and she did not hesitate."
Safe to say, Sparky is not starving for attention.
The Matz family has three children, including 9-year-old Alivia and 7-year-old Lanee who were more than willing to give the dog all the affection it needed.
"I brought the dog home (Friday) afternoon and they didn't know about it until I brought him in the door," Matz said. "The girls love him already and I know he'll receive the love that he deserves."
Everything has seemed to come together for the dog which appears to be a mixture of labrador and golden retriever.
Fire crews began battled freezing temperatures at the Vineway St. residence around 9:45 p.m. Tuesday night when crew members noticed a glowing pair of eyes staring back at them from inside the house.
"I was on the first floor hitting hot spots and another crew was in the basement when the guys happened to see the glow in the dogs eyes as they passed their flashlight across the room," recalls Matz.
Huddled in the basement, the dog was freezing cold after the water used to battle the blaze began pooling on the bottom floor, where he was standing.
Firemen rushed the dog out of the house and into the cab of the Liberty Fire Company's No. 3 Engine to get him warm and away from danger.
The dug suffered some lung irritation from smoke inhalation and pictures from that evening showed he looked a little underfed.
But Matz reports he's eating well, playing with the girls and already adjusting to life in his new home.
"He's eating well, his tail is wagging fitting right in has not been a problem," Matz said. "I want to thank everyone that helped out with the donations, along with the foster family, for helping him out."
It's always said that people in the Ohio Valley rally to help out a fellow neighbor in need. It's evident that helping hand of assistance stretches beyond their fellow man and to all manners of creatures big and small.
There's one happy, playful canine in Martins Ferry today that can attest to that.
Hughes may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org