The father who rescued his 20-year-old daughter from a burning thermal spring in Yellowstone after she jumped in to try to save her puppy took the injured pet to the vet before being treated for his own injuries.
Laiha Slayton suffered burns to 90 percent of her body when she jumped into Maiden’s Grave Hot Spring on Tuesday to rescue Shih Tzu puppy Rusty.
But her family was likely spared from more serious injuries after father Woodrow, 48, pulled her out of the 190°F water in just eight seconds, her family has revealed.
Woodrow suffered burns to his foot but was still able to take Laiha to West Yellowstone, Montana, to seek help, from where she was flown by helicopter to the burn unit at Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center in Idaho Falls.
But instead of immediately seeking help for his own injuries, Woodrow drove the burned puppy to the nearest vet to save his life.
Sadly, Rusty later died of his injuries.
Woodrow’s other daughter, Kamilla, who goes beyond Kami, posted a tribute to her father on Instagram, saying he acted “out of instinct, adrenaline” and saved her sister’s life.
“He heard the puppy screaming for his life with every breath of air he had in his lungs, then saw his daughter nearly kill herself to save her dog and then injure himself while rescuing her,” the message reads.
“He went to the vet before he could get to the hospital. He knows how close Laiha holds those damn dogs to her heart, and he couldn’t see her because of all the work they were doing with her.”
Kamilla said her heartbroken father learned of Rusty’s passing, “knowing that Laiha made this sacrifice.”
Heroic dad Woodrow Slayton (pictured with wife) suffered a burnt foot while taking Laiha’s puppy to the vet in a bid to save his life
Laiha, 20, suffered burns to about ’90 percent of her body’ while trying to save her Shih Tzu, Rusty, who jumped into a hot spring in Yellowstone National Park
Woodrow (center), 48, rescued daughter Laiha (left) from a thermal spring eight seconds after she went to rescue her puppy on Tuesday. Kamilla is also pictured (right)
Meanwhile, doctors who treated Laiha said her burns “appear to be better than doctors initially thought,” according to an update on Kamilla’s Instagram.
She also said that things could have been much worse if her father Woodrow, 48, hadn’t pulled her out of the boiling 200-degree water so quickly.
Laiha, of Tacoma, Washington, suffered 91 percent burns from the near-fatal incident.
The dental assistant and former nursing home assistant is currently in an artificial coma, her family said.
But despite fears her injuries would all be third-degree burns — affecting deeper tissues — Kamilla said half of the injuries were second-degree burns, affecting the outer layers of skin.
Laiha will need multiple debridement surgeries over the next two weeks, which is to remove damaged tissue or foreign bodies from a wound.
As for Woodrow, he is no longer in pain after requiring treatment for burning part of his foot while rescuing Laiha, although blisters the size of 1.5 inches are appearing on his foot.
Rusty the Shih Tzu puppy was taken to a vet but did not survive the injuries
Laiha will be in a medically induced coma for the next two weeks as she recovers from her third-degree burns after rescuing her dog from a hot spring in Yellowstone, Wyoming on Tuesday, her family said.
The father and daughter had stopped on Tuesday to visit Yellowstone National Park and were 20-30 meters from Maiden’s Grave Spring, next to the Firehole River, according to Kamilla.
The family’s two Shih Tzus, Rusty and Chevy, walked around the neighborhood while Laiha searched the car for their leashes.
Rusty suddenly got burns to his foot from a small leak from the geyser that empties into the river. The dog then panicked and fell in the spring as Woodrow tried to gain control of Chevy.
Laiha jumped into the thermal spring — which can reach temperatures of 190 degrees Fahrenheit — in an attempt to save her one-year-old puppy, then had to be rescued by her father herself.
Maiden’s Grave Hot Spring flows into the Firehole River in Yellowstone National Park, where Laiha and her dog reportedly fell and suffered burns
The incident took place at Maiden’s Grave Spring, north of the famous Old Faithful Geyser in Yellowstone Park, Wyoming.
Donations pour in to a GoFundMe page hosted by the Slaytons to pay for the puppy’s medical bills and cremations.
As of Thursday afternoon, more than $37,000 of a $45,000 goal has been donated to Laiha’s cause.
Yellowstone National Park officials also posted about the incident on their Facebook page, warning visitors to stay away from the hot springs.
Their message read: ‘The soil in hydrothermal areas is fragile and thin, and there is boiling water just below the surface. Everyone should stay on boardwalks and trails and be extremely careful around thermal features.
“Protect your pets in the park by physically checking them out at all times. Pets must be in a car, crate or on a leash no longer than two meters. They are not allowed on boardwalks, hiking trails, in the backcountry or in thermal areas.’
Laiha (pictured) was helicoptered to the hospital in Idaho after her father drove her to West Yellowstone, Montana, to seek help
Laiha seen with her two Shih Tzus involved in the incident: Chevy and Rusty
Laiha is the second woman to burn herself in a Yellowstone thermal function in recent weeks.
On Sept. 16, a 19-year-old woman — a concessionaire at the park — from Rhode Island suffered second- and third-degree burns to 5 percent of her body after falling into thermal water at the world-famous Old Faithful geyser.
Due to medical privacy laws, it is not known exactly how many visitors were injured by ignoring the warning signs.
In October 2020, a three-year-old suffered second-degree thermal burns to his lower body after running off a designated path and slipping and falling into a minor thermal function.
In May of the same year, a visitor who illegally entered the park while it was closed due to the Covid pandemic also ended up in a thermal function while backing up to take a photo at Old Faithful.
Since the park’s inception in 1872, there have been about 20 reported deaths from some sort of interaction with thermal parks.
Slayton is the second person to have suffered severe burns in a Yellowstone thermal function in recent weeks (pictured)
According to the USG, about 20 people have died as a result of some sort of interaction with thermal parks since the park’s creation in 1872.
That number is significantly higher than the eight deaths in the same period from grizzly bear encounters, the United States Geological Survey reports.
The most recent fatality in the park occurred in August 2000, when one person died and two others suffered severe burns after falling from a hot spring in the Lower Geyser Basin.
Yellowstone has more than 10,000 thermal features, which can be as hot as 280 degrees Fahrenheit (138 Celsius).
The national park was briefly closed in May 2020 due to COVID reasons, but National Park Services reported that it hosted 483,159 recreational visits in May 2021.
It’s an 11 percent increase compared to May 2019 (434,385 recreational visits) and the park’s most visited May ever.
So far, more visitors have come to Yellowstone in 2021 than in any of the past three years. National Park Services reported that Yellowstone hosted 483,159 recreation visits in May 2021 — an 11 percent increase compared to May 2019 (434,385 recreation visits) and the park’s most visited May ever.