Watch CBS News

Burned Chihuahua Puppy Adopted By Young Alameda Burn Survivor

ALAMEDA (CBS SF) -- A tiny puppy who suffered disfiguring chemical burns has found a new home with a Bay Area child who can directly relate to what had happened to it.

Volunteers at Pittsburg's Umbrella of Hope animal rescue are often asked to find homes for abused pets.  But when word hit the media about this tiny puppy found disfigured with chemical burns, things got a little crazy.

"We were all on high-alert, staying up all night trying to reply to everyone," said volunteer Abbie Alcamo. "It was like nothing we ever experienced before."

Burned Puppy
The burned puppy formerly known as 'Fireman' during its recovery at a foster home in Oakley. (Photo courtesy of "Memoirs of a Dog")

Thousands of people across the world offered to adopt the little Chihuahua they called "Fireman." But the shelter knew the dog was traumatized and they began looking for someone who could relate to the little underdog.  That's when they got a call from 12-year old Chloe Levenson-Cupp of Alameda.

"She said to us, 'I just feel like he understands me and maybe I can understand him as well.' And we were just, like - oooooh, this is definitely perfect!" said Alcamo.

You see, Chloe has her own scars from being splashed with hot tea as a baby.  Last week, she brought the pup - officially named Buddy - home to stay.

He's a bit more aerodynamic now because his ears couldn't be saved, but Chloe had an immediate insight into that. Who would know that better than a burn survivor?

"Like, when I heard he had burned ears, I was like, oh geez, they must be really itchy," said Chloe.

The two have really hit it off and Buddy is much calmer.  While he still lashes out when pushed too far, Chloe knows to back off - like when her parents were trying to get Buddy to accept a leash…

"And they're just, like, 'we have to get him used to it!'  And I'm just, like, 'No! Stop!'"

It seems Chloe understands that the worst scars of a burn are on the psyche and those take a long time to heal.  So it's her new job to be patient because she remembers what it was like.

"Yeah, 'cause I was just, like, 'OK, I'll back off.' You don't want me to do that? OK, I won't do that.'

Because that's how Chloe felt.

The Umbrella of Hope rescue group said the story of Fireman/Buddy has prompted a lot of people to adopt. If you'd like to find out more you can visit their website at

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.