THEY returned home to find their two pet dogs lying motionless on the floor, covered in soot and barely alive.

Ruth and Robert Porter were horrified to discover Buddy and Daisy were suffering from smoke inhalation following a small fire at the family home in Hythe.

Buddy - a five-year-old bijon frise - was breathing softly but Daisy - a six-year-old bearded collie cross - showed no signs of life.

The couple took them to the Seadown Veterinary Hospital in Frost Lane, Hythe, where staff have spent three months nursing them back to health.

Mrs Porter said: "I must have looked like a mad woman when I arrived because I was soaked and covered in soot - but all I could think about was Buddy and Daisy.

"Buddy was conscious but Daisy was lifeless and barely breathing."

Four vets and three nurses sprang into action, providing the animals with oxygen via face masks and checking for any injuries as well as washing off the soot.

Sophi Dolbear, the vet on duty when the dogs were rushed in, said: "They arrived in a very sorry state and were completely black, but neither had any burns to their skin.

"Buddy responded very well to the oxygen and was much more alert.

"Daisy was the one we were more worried about. Her lungs had been severely affected by smoke inhalation and hot smoke can cause severe swelling of the airways, which can be fatal.

"Daisy required continual oxygen for three days whereas Buddy was holding his own by the afternoon.

"He went home the following afternoon but Daisy remained an in-patient for another few days after her temperature became worryingly high.

"She took some time to recover and was hand-fed for a few weeks.

"Her respiratory fitness was severely affected and both dogs may have problems in the future, but they're doing very well so far.

"The whole team are thrilled that the dogs are alive and well after what must have been an incredibly stressful time for the family."

Mr and Mrs Porter have two daughters, Chloe, nine, and four-year-old Faith, who have been willing the dogs to make a full recovery.

Mrs Porter said; "Buddy seems to be almost back to his old self but Daisy still needs time.

"We can take her for short walks but she still continues to cough up black particles although she's a hundred times better than she was.

"We can't thank Seadown enough. Sophi and the other staff treated Buddy and Daisy as if they were their own precious dogs. They really are fantastic vets."