The Maiden’s Grave Spring in Yellowstone National Park nearly claimed a life on Oct. 4 after an accident turned tragic.
Washington resident Laiha Slayton, 20, her dad Woodrow, 48, and her rescue puppies, shih tzus named Rusty and Chevy, were visiting Yellowstone National Park. They stopped their car about 30 yards from the spring to walk, and while they were getting leashes, the two dogs jumped out of the car and started sniffing around.
Apparently, while Rusty was wandering, he stepped on a hot spot and it startled him, causing him to run into the spring, which is around 200 degrees Fahrenheit, according to NBC News.
Laiha followed Rusty and jumped into the water in a bid to save his life. Her father was right behind her — managing to grab her and pull her back out of the scalding water in about eight seconds, the family said, according to the Daily Mail.
All three sustained burns, with Laiha and Rusty faring the worst. Even though Woodrow burned his foot in the spring, he managed to get his daughter to the hospital and the dog to a veterinarian before tending to his own injuries.
Rusty has since passed away, and his devoted owner has been placed in a medically induced coma. According to a GoFundMe set up by the family, over 90 percent of her body is covered in second and third-degree burns.
The family is now struggling with the impending medical bills, the loss of Rusty, the pain and healing that is to come, and the fact that they’ll still have to break the sad news about Rusty to Laiha.
Kami Slayton, Laiha’s sister, has been keeping people updated on Laiha’s condition through social media and recognizing her father’s heroics.
“People don’t live in this situation,” Kami posted on Instagram on Oct. 7. “It’s a miracle. Dad acted on instinct, adrenaline, and saved her life. He heard the puppy screaming for its life with every bit of air it had in its lungs — then watched his daughter nearly kill herself to save her dog, then injured himself while rescuing her.
“It goes unsaid — all parents would have done the same thing. Not every parent experiences that traumatic situation. He watched his daughter almost die. He couldn’t go in that helicopter with her … the gut wrenching feeling of having to watch your daughter fly off, uncertain of if she is going to live or not.
“And when Rusty passed away, knowing that Laiha made this sacrifice and is walking out empty handed really has broken his heart, and she doesn’t even know yet. He’s holding that to his heart every day and that’s hard.
“It’s clear with all the prayers, shares, and donations, that Laiha and Dad will undoubtedly have a support team rallied behind them. Thank you Dad, I don’t know the right words to say, but thank you and I love you so much. [You] did an amazing job. You’re doing great keeping it together, even on the roughest days. if you are interested in sending my dad thank you cards, kind words, care packages please dm me and we can figure it out! I’m sure he would love it, and mean so much to him as well.”
Support in many forms has poured in from people around the world, and the family has currently received over $58,000 through their GoFundMe.
An update from Monday on the GoFundMe states that Laiha has already had four surgeries to replace damaged skin. The family is grateful for everyone who has reached out, and continues to ask for prayers.
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