Blanca Acosta might have lost all of her material belongings, but she didn't lose her most prized possession.
Acosta was rescued from a house fire Jan. 3 on Walsh Street in Jefferson City. She suffered serious injuries and was no longer able to care for her 3-year-old chocolate lab, who was also rescued from the fire.
The dog was taken to the Jefferson City Animal Shelter, where he recovered and was adopted by Jefferson City Fire Department Assistant Chief Tim Grace.
Grace and his family named the dog Chance.
Grace, along with other members of the fire department, recently took Chance to visit Acosta, who is recovering at St. Joseph's Bluffs assisted living facility.
Acosta wanted to make sure the firefighters knew how grateful she was for their actions. With the help of her physical therapist, Sarah Brown, Acosta wrote them a thank-you note.
"I still do not have a pair of shoes, or a computer, or the photos of my children when they were babies," Acosta said. "I learned about my predicament about a week later. I had been under induced coma for six days. I do not remember anything about that horrible night, but when, at 68, I learned that I had nothing left in this world, a particularly tragic situation since I have nobody in this area, I asked, 'Why had I survived?'"
Acosta said she survived because of the actions of the firefighters that night, as well as the staff at University of Missouri Hospital in Columbia and the staff at the St. Joseph's rehab center.
"But I hadn't lost everything — not quite," she said. "My beloved chocolate lab had been rescued by the firefighters, brought back to life, and one firefighter and his family have adopted him with the same love I felt for him."
"Chance was brought out by two firefighters and was only breathing five times per minute when they got him out," Grace said. "He truly is getting a second chance because he should not have survived the fire."
Chance has been with his new family for about a month and Grace said the dog is doing well.
"He's slowly losing his extra weight," Grace said. "He's down about 10 pounds since we got him when he was around 114. We need some warm weather to get him out more to run."
This article was edited Feb. 13, 2018, to correct the spelling of Blanca Acosta's name.