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CINCINNATI, OH — A heroic dog that rose to Internet fame after attempting to save her owner from an Ohio house fire was released from an animal hospital Monday and is now at home with her new family.
Carmen, a 9-year-old boxer, went home Monday with Phil Ledford and his wife Elizabeth after two weeks of 24-hour care at an animal hospital.
Phil Ledford’s brother Ben Ledford was Carmen’s original owner. He died in a February 5 fire. Phil Ledford said the homecoming is bittersweet.
“It’ll be tough in that sense, seeing Carmen everyday, because she will remind me of Ben,” Phil Ledford told WCPO-TV.
“But it’ll be like having a piece of him around,” he said.
First responders to the fire found Carmen on top of Ben Ledford, trying to shelter his face from the heat, smoke and flame, according to WCPO.
Ledford, 33, was taken to a hospital where he died. Carmen ended up at Cincinnati’s Care Center, a critical care veterinary hospital where she has been ever since.
Carmen was initially battling severe lung damage and smoke inhalation, Dr. Daniel Carey, a vet at the hospital, told WCPO.
Carmen was able to come off oxygen support over the weekend and has been eating on her own, according to a post on the Facebook page of the animal hospital Care Center Vets in Cincinnati.
“We will all miss her sweet, loving face (and kisses), but we are so glad she is able to be home with her family tonight,” the post said.
Fans of Carmen have donated more than $29,000 toward the $25,000 goal for the care of the boxer on the Crowdrise website.
Many dog lovers posted messages with their donations.
“We have a boxer baby, and this act of devotion is not surprising,” Don and Lukasz Mallory wrote Friday on the crowdfunding site. “Prayers to the family for their loss and to Carmen for a fast recovery. If a dog can be this devoted to a human being, how much more should we be to each other.”
Phil Ledford said he knows his brother would be happy to see Carmen “healthy and happy.”
“We still cannot find the words to truly express how much we appreciate the support we’ve received from everyone for Ben, the family and for Carmen,” Phil Ledford said on the crowdfunding site.
By Stephanie Gallman
Michael Martinez contributed to this report.