A South Florida man is recovering from second-degree burns after he tried to save his dog, Ruby, who accidentally caught on fire Tuesday evening, deputies said.
Telma Botcherby, Ruby's owner, was treating the dog with flea and tick spray when she noticed a live tick on the floor and tried to burn it with a lighter, according to a Broward Sheriff’s Office report. Ruby became startled and jumped across where Botcherby was trying to burn the tick. The dog then burst into flames, officials said.
"I couldn't see any dog, no Ruby," Botcherby said. "She was nothing but flames."
Botcherby screamed for her husband, Jess Olivas, who picked up Ruby in his arms and jumped into a swimming pool.
Olivas was taken to North Broward Hospital and later transferred to Jackson Memorial as a trauma alert for treatment of his second degree burns. Officials said 18 to 24 percent of Olivas’ body was burned including his right arm, left forearm, chest and face.
The family could not afford to take the pet to an emergency clinic at the time of the incident so the dog was taken to Dr. Peter’s Animal Hospital the next morning, officials said.
The veterinarian said Olivas' jump into the pool probably saved Ruby's life.
"The owner courageously saved the life of the pet and unfortunately, at the same time put himself in grave danger," Dr. Peter Krolikowski said.
While the dog is having trouble sitting down and still shakes at times, vet technician Jamie Duffey said she will pull through.
"Even happy, healthy dogs are sometimes challenging to work with, so she is an angel and I'm happy to say that given the circumstances she is in pretty good spirits," Duffey said.