Sassy is sweet on life-saving Rock Island first responder after fire rescue

ROCK ISLAND -

At the Rock Island Animal Hospital on Thursday, May 25, there's an unexpected miracle.

"She's pretty fortunate," said Rock Island Paramedic Scott Romine.

Sassy, a seven-year-old Maltese, is one lucky dog.  On Thursday, she reunited with Romine.

"She was in rough shape," he recalled.

Just 24 hours earlier, Scott and Sassy met under the most difficult circumstances.  Her life was on the line.

"Not really breathing much at all and kind of faint heartbeat," he said.

Rock Island firefighters rescued Sassy from a devastating fire that claimed three of her offspring.

"She was in pretty dire straits," Romine continued.  "We were really worried if she was going to come around."

Romine eventually revived Sassy at the scene with a mask designed for animals.

"If they hadn't given her oxygen, we would have been having a much different outcome, I suspect," said Dr. Elizabeth Narske, Rock Island Animal Hospital.

While Sassy suffered smoke and heat injuries, she's expected to recover nicely.

That could be the end of the story, but it's really just the start.

Scott Romine is offering to keep Sassy until her family can return to their home.

"When you're there, and you see any animal in that state, you want to be able to help out as much as possible," he said.

That gesture says a lot about Scott and the Rock Island Fire Department.  During a terrible time, it's something that can soothe a family's pain.

"I think this can hopefully make things a little better for them, seeing Sassy alive and well," said Rock Island Fire Chief Jeff Yerkey.

If that's not enough, Moline-based Rescued is stepping up to pay for Sassy's vet bills.

For these kind hearts, it's all in a day's work.  Sassy's Thursday exam became a grateful reward.

"Being able to save her and be a part of that, it's pretty cool," said Dr. Narske.

And that face, which went from black with soot and ash to snow white, says it all for Scott.

"Anybody that's a dog lover, and even if you're not, you have an immense sense of happiness," he concluded.

Happiness for a lucky dog that's sweet -- and Sassy.