Phoenix with Mike Rojas, the retired firefighter who is adopting her. The now-5-month-old puppy suffered third-degree burns in a fire. (Dean Musgrove/Staff Photographer)
"I couldn't imagine a better future for them," said Jerry Robbins, 34, whose family dogs gave birth to the puppies.
Robbins, his wife and their five children tried for about two weeks to care for the puppies on their own, but it was a struggle.
Finally, Robbins called Zach Skow, founder of Marley's Mutts, a Tehachapi dog rescue.
"We got a lot of flak in the beginning for not euthanizing them," Skow said. "A lot of people said what we were doing was selfish, that it was not right.
"But the puppies had survived for several days essentially without veterinary care, and I thought we owed it to them to do our best to help."
Skow has devoted himself to rescuing dogs because they helped him recover from liver disease. And this time was no different -- he did some research and found out the Pet Emergency Clinics and Specialty Hospital in Thousand Oaks had the sophisticated equipment needed to treat both puppies.
The clinic took Phoenix and Natalia in, but staff had never seen such serious burns before.
To the rescue came Dr. Richard Grossman, founder of Grossman Burn Center at West Hills Hospital, who had heard about the case and offered to help, pro bono.