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Wildfire Survivor Dog Inspired Her Mom to Help Other Fire Victims [Video]



  • Emma Zen is a Great Dane/Lab mix who was rescued from a raging wildfire back in 2017 when he was only 4-month-old.
  • Her friendly personality and soulful eyes won the heart of Debra, a former tattoo artist who became her mom.
  • In return, Debra was also inspired by the pup so she decided to help others who are victims of fires and cancer.

During a raging wildfire in Southern California back in 2017, a 4-month-old Great Dane-Lab mix puppy was rescued by the firefighters. 

The poor pup was placed in an animal shelter in Anaheim and rescuers hoped that her family would come to get her back. Sadly, no one came for her, so the shelter put her up for adoption. 

Her friendly personality and soulful brown eyes won the heart of Debra Jo Chiapuzio, who previously worked as a medical tattoo artist and now uses her skills to support cancer survivors and burn victims emotionally. She was also a former instructor of animal CPR and first aid.

She then gave the pup the name Emma Zen. She described her to TODAY: “She’s as Zen as her name—super mellow, super sweet, easygoing, and very adventurous.”

Photo Credit: Debra Jo Chiapuzio

Debra understood the weight of California wildfire devastation on companion animals — and she felt a compelling desire to do something about it.

She began by giving the Anaheim fire department 17 oxygen masks specifically designed to fit pets. She then trained the first responders how to use them — and yet in her heart, she still wanted to do something more, contribute more!

Photo Credit: Debra Jo Chiapuzio

So, in 2011, Debra started the Emma Zen Foundation — a nonprofit that aims to provide pet oxygen masks to as many firefighters as she could. She also offers free training on how to use the device.

So far, Emma Zen and Debra have distributed over 7,500 pet oxygen masks across the country — thanks to all the individual donors, the Annenberg Foundation, the Girl Scout troops, and many others.

Photo Credit: Debra Jo Chiapuzio

As the wildfires became more frequent and severe, Debra decided to work full-time at the Emma Zen Foundation.

Emma Zen is now 13 years old and is experiencing age-related arthritis. Still, she keeps Debra company. The duo is just perfect!

Photo Credit: Debra Jo Chiapuzio

“If I died tomorrow, we left behind—Emma and I—something that means more to me than anything, and that’s the animals on this planet,” Debra said. “This has been my biggest accomplishment, and I was led there by a dog.”

Source: Good News Network