When firefighters in Broward County, Florida arrived late Thursday at a home on fire, they assumed the evening emergency would include pulling trapped residents to safety.
Although they found not a single person home, the firefighters stumbled onto a rescue unlike any other: 34 dogs choking on thick, black smoke.
"The dogs weren't responsive," said Lt. Kristen Sargent, one of the first into the home. "They were just laying on the ground, pretty much gasping for air. The smoke was thick, you could barely see anything."
It took the fire department only three minutes to get to the blaze, but more than 90 minutes to find all the victims.
While one of the dogs passed away, 33 escaped the fire alive.
At the VCA Hollywood Animal Hospital in Hollywood, Florida, eight dogs are still in intensive care.
Dr. Katherine Cappe, holding a trembling dog they nicknamed "Andy," said: "He has damage in the lungs. Some soot that's probably down there. The first 48 hours is always a critical time for a dog that's been exposed to smoke."
As she and a technician petted "Andy," their hands turned dark from the soot still staining his body.
Four dogs remain in oxygen tents.
Florida Cocker Spaniel Rescue 23154 Saint George Place Land O Lakes, FL 34639