KANSAS CITY, Missouri — For five months a dog left homeless by a deadly house explosion waited for its owners at the site of the blast in a south Kansas City neighborhood.
The injured, skittish dog eluded concerned neighbors, animal control and rescue groups for weeks. The dog would run into a nearby wooded area every time someone approached the property.
On June 4, a home near East 92nd Street and Tennessee Avenue exploded. Investigators say people inside the home were making illegal fireworks. Wiley Mitchell Jr., 52, lost both his legs and an arm in the blast and died days later from his injuries. Another man was critically injured.
“Once the house had exploded, the family never came back because of the tragedy,” The Rescue Project outreach lead Lori Lamb said.
The family’s three dogs were thrown by the blast into a nearby creek bed. Two dogs died from their injuries. But one survived, and she never left. Neighbors believe the dog was waiting for her family to come home.
“She obviously had the will to live. She had hope to live,” Lamb said. “That’s the reason why we named her Asha because it stands for hope.”
Months after the home was torn down, Asha waited near the empty lot. Neighbors couldn’t coax her to safety. They asked members of The Rescue Project to help capture the dog using a humane trap for her own safety. Those efforts were initially unsuccessful, but they didn’t give up.
“The neighbor called and said she was in the trap,” Lamb said. “We were ecstatic.”
Asha is now getting veterinary care at the Great Plains SPCA. They’re running tests to determine just how serious Asha’s injuries are. The burned dog was walking around with untreated wounds for months.
“We have a lot of people just ready to see that happy ending for Asha,” Great Plains SPCA chief communications officer Rachel Hodgson said. “She has gone through so much and she is still a sweetheart.”
Once veterinarians have determined how to treat Asha’s injuries, they hope to eventually find her a new home.
Anyone can donate toward Asha’s medical care by contacting the Great Plains SPCA or The Rescue Project.
The two non-profit organizations are joining forces to help even more animals in need.
They started Project Hero which stands for Humane Education Resource Officer. They will use the on the ground resources of The Rescue Project combined with the veterinary services and shelter space provided by the Great Plains SPCA.