Yellowstone park

Woman in Coma After Diving Into Yellowstone Hot Spring to Save Puppy

On October 5th, a 20-year-old woman from Washington state went into a coma after jumping into a hot spring to save her puppy. She was visiting the Yellowstone Geyers with her father when her dog, Rusty, got loose. The pup got burned from the hot water, panicked, and ran into a geyser. Laiha Slayton jumped into the Maiden’s Grave Spring water of 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Her father burned his foot while saving her. Laiha is now in hospital being treated for severe burns.

Laiha has burns on 91% of her body

The Yellowstone Parks officials stated that Laiha suffered burns from her shoulders to her feet. As she and her father exited their vehicle, Rusty jumped out and into the thermal hot spring. Laiha tried to save him but her father had to draw her out of the spring. [1]


Unfortunately, the Shih Tzu puppy died and Laiha is in the Burn Center at Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center. Laiha’s sister, Kamilla Slayton, started a GoFundMe page to help with costs for her, their father, and the vet expenses. Additionally, their parents need financial aid for food and lodging since they have to stay out of state to watch over their daughter, as well as cremation services for Rusty.


My sister’s palms are completely gone and will have to go into surgery and possibly for the rest of her body too. She is in a medically induced coma for two weeks and had emergency surgery,” says the GoFundMe page. Kamillah included an update, saying, “Laiha has burns on 91% of her body; it’s about 50/50 3rd degree burns and 2nd-degree burns. She will be under for 2–3 weeks and probably be in the hospital for a few months.” [2]

#Laiha Strong

In an update on October 11, Kamilla had some good news to share. “Laiha is doing better day by day! She had went through 4 surgeries successfully so far and she is hanging in as tuff as possible,” she wrote. “We still need all the prayers and shares that we can possibly get! The Slayton family is going to have to go through a lot more than just medical bills and this is only the beginning to Laiha’s story.” She thanked everyone who had supported and helped their family, including the Idaho community. 

Three days later, Kamilla announced T-shirt with “Laiha Strong” after the hashtag she made for her sister. Half of the proceeds for the shirt go directly to all of the medical, rehab, and travel expenses. These were in addition to the “Laiha Strong” bracelets she announced on Instagram.


Among Kamilla’s posts updating people about her sister’s condition, she posted a particularly heartfelt message for her father, a true hero in this situation. Because of him, Laiha was in the water for about eight seconds.


People don’t live in this situation. It’s a miracle. Dad acted on instinct, adrenaline, and saved her life. He heard the puppy screaming for its life with every bit of air it had in its lungs — then watched his daughter nearly kill herself to save her dog, then injured himself while rescuing her…”

She continued, “He experienced that torture for hours while driving with an injured foot. He went to the vet before he could go to the hospital. He knows how close Laiha holds those dogs to her heart, and he wasn’t able to see her because of all the work they were doing to her… 

Thank you Dad, I don’t know the right words to say, but thank you and I love you so much. You did an amazing job. You’re doing great keeping it together, even on the roughest days.[3]

Important Notice From Yellowstone National Park 

Yellowstone National Park released a statement about the incident with a strong notice for their visitors:


“The ground in hydrothermal areas is fragile and thin, and there is scalding water just below the surface. Everyone must remain on boardwalks and trails and exercise extreme caution around thermal features.

While in the park, protect your pets by physically controlling them at all times. Pets must be in a car, crate, or on a leash no more than six feet long. They are not allowed on boardwalks, hiking trails, in the backcountry, or in thermal areas.” [4]

This is far from the first incident of burns and injuries at the park. In 2020, a three-year-old suffered from second-degree-thermal burns on their back and lower body. The child had started running from the trail, slipped, and fell into a small thermal feature, according to a statement by the park. In May of the same year, a visitor who illegally entered fell into a thermal feature. The visitor was taking photos and backing up, accidentally into the feature. [5]


Keep Reading: Dolphins Alert Rescue Crew to Lost Swimmer Who Had Been Stranded for 12 Hours



  1. “A 20-year-old woman is in a coma after getting severely burned trying to save her dog from a hot spring at Yellowstone.Insider. Kelly McLaughlin. October 7, 2021
  2. “Please help my family and Laiha recover.GoFundMe.
  3. kamijoslayton. Instagram
  4. “Female visitor suffers significant thermal burns in Yellowstone National Park; Visitors: Keep pets under control.National Park Service. October 6, 2021
  5. “Three-year-old suffers thermal burns in Yellowstone National Park.National Park Service. October 9, 2020
Sarah Biren
Freelance Writer
Sarah is a baker, cook, author, and blogger living in Toronto. She believes that food is the best method of healing and a classic way of bringing people together. In her spare time, Sarah does yoga, reads cookbooks, writes stories, and finds ways to make any type of food in her blender.