A Pompano Beach firefighter found herself dealing with a different kind of emergency when she found a puppy abandoned in a crate at her station.
Nicole Velarde, a firefighter and paramedic with Pompano Beach Fire Rescue, made the discovery Sunday after she returned from a call.
The terrier mix, now lovingly referred to as "Scruffy," had bad injuries along his back.
"I love animals," Velarde said. "I'm a huge animal lover so my first instinct was, 'Who dropped this dog off here?'"
Velarde rushed the approximately five-month-old pooch to a veterinarian, who told her Scruffy was badly burned. He had to be sedated as he underwent surgery, but he will survive.
"They pretty much just removed an entire layer of his back, which he won't grow hair on, so he'll have a bald spot, but as long as he's happy and healthy, I'm happy," Velarde said.
As a firefighter, Velarde saves human lives on a regular basis. But she went the extra mile to save an animal's life, too.
"We save lives and essentially that's another life," she said. "It's just in my nature to want to save lives, whether it's an animal, a child, an adult, that's what we do."
Velarde will take Scruffy in as soon as he makes it through this long road of recovery. To help with Scruffy's medical expenses, visit the GoFundMe page.