The Jack Russell Terrier that suffered third degree burns to his entire body after police say he was set on fire by two Buffalo teens is on the mend following a second surgery last week. YNN's Meg Rossman has more on Phoenix's road to recovery and how he's responding to treatment.
BUFFALO, N.Y. — "He wants to play with his toys and run around and accepts attention from basically anybody," senior veterinarian Rebecca Wagner said.
Including our cameras, as Phoenix finally got a chance to stretch his legs Tuesday.
"You can already see the behavior change from a few weeks ago until now, how much puppiness he has,” she said. “He's just wanting to be silly."
Though, that's something Wagner and his caretakers at the Buffalo Animal Shelter are trying to limit. Phoenix, who suffered third degree burns on his entire body after police say two Buffalo teens set him on fire in October, is just coming off a skin graft surgery with plans for another.
"He's taken to the graft on his leg exceptionally. This is one step in the direction of him being able to keep his leg, not out of the woods yet."
Wagner said 60 percent of Phoenix’s ears had to be amputated as a result of his injuries, and he's still suffering from a bone infection on his left hind leg. She said it's likely the pup will spend the rest of his life on chronic pain medication and all that of course comes with a cost.
"We've had bandage material donated; we've had ointments donated so we have been able to cut a lot of the cost," veterinary technician Judy Bunge explained.
One that Bunge estimates could've totaled $15,000 had it not been for donations; still, the shelter has had to pay around $6,000 out of pocket, all in the hopes that this little guy will one day live a normal life.
"If you rush it, you're just setting yourself up for failure,” Wagner said of Phoenix’s upcoming surgeries. “So, if it takes me four months to do it, that's fine, if it takes seven that's fine."
Phoenix is scheduled for a graft on his stomach Thursday. For information on how you can help visit