Chihuahua recovers from burns; ready for family reunion

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by JASON WHITELY

Bio | Email | Follow: @jasonwhitely

WFAA

Posted on November 29, 2011 at 2:10 AM

Updated Sunday, Nov 24 at 1:52 PM

DALLAS — Images of their burns are painful enough to view, but what five-year-old Pablo Mendez and his dad Domingo survived can't be captured in a snapshot.

In addition, pictures of Domingo's wife, Juliana, 26, reveal his own emotional wounds that have yet to heal.

"I'm sorry, I haven't seen those pictures," Domingo said, fighting back tears. "I saw the picture of my wife and I didn't see her like that."

In September, family members said a natural gas leak sparked an explosion and fire in their Oak Cliff home.

Domingo and Pablo spent a month in Parkland Memorial Hospital's Burn Unit.

Juliana was there for eight weeks.

But the family pet is still at the vet.

News 8 first introduced you to "Goofy," the Mendez's two-year-old Chihuahua, days after the tragedy.

A viewer rescued the little dog from the destroyed home after paramedics took his owners to the hospital. Goofy suffered severe burns.

Then dozens of other people from as far away as Houston, Austin, and even Charleston, South Carolina pitched in and donated $11,583.69 to pay for the dog's therapy and antibiotics.

"If you didn't know he was in a fire and he didn't have the scars that he has, you wouldn't know anything had happened to him," said Dr. Tamara Johnson of the Casa Linda Animal Clinic.

Goofy's hair is growing back on his head, but his ear tips will not.

The little dog is friendly, yet feisty.

Members of the Mendez family, though, face many more months of therapy.

"They told me about a year to a year-and-a-half," said Domingo, who is a diesel mechanic by trade.

He goes once a week for occupational therapy. Domingo said his wife and son go twice a week to stretch their skin in physical therapy.

In fact, Juliana took Pablo back to the hospital on Monday for another week-long treatment.

But the five-year-old will return home to a surprise. Domingo said he plans to finally pick up the family pet later this week. Goofy understands what they're going through.

Casa Linda Animal Clinic, which nursed the dog back to health, said the money that viewers donated  will take care of Goofy's medical bills for the rest of his life.

E-mail  jwhitely@wfaa.com

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