Thursday, January 8, 2015

Amazing animal survival stories from wildfires

Of course you should never leave your animals behind in a disaster zone, but sometimes there really is no choice. For example, what if you are away from home when there is a wildfire and you are not allowed back in? That is a good reason to have a key hidden and maybe arrangements with a neighbor to rescue your babies if a fire is approaching. But this is not an article about how to cover every contingency. This is about remarkable animals who survived on their own.

For example, a horse flagged down a fire engine during the High Park wildfire. You can see a snippet from a newscast with a photo of the horse.

A Colorado State University news release on students caring for High Park fire evacuees at the Ranch details a remarkable story about a donkey:
“Two companion donkeys came in, and after talking to a neighbor who knows them, he is convinced the one dominant donkey kept the group of two donkeys and four draft horses safe,” [a veterinary staff person] said. “One of the volunteer haulers who brought this group in told me this herd was standing in a lush green meadow, and when they arrived, the lead donkey with singed whiskers walked up to him and laid his head into his chest."
It is wonderful to hear these stories out of High Park after so much has been lost. A lesson after Katrina was many found the number one thing they cared about was the safety of their family and animals. After that came homes, possessions and jobs.
Shelter workers in New Mexico (Little Bear fire) report "We found a hunting dog in midtown that they think had run 20 miles .”

Then there was the case of a cat discovered burned, but alive, under a rock after the 2010 Boulder fire. In a stunning coincidence, a Denver woman considering adopting the cat discovered "Sizzles" was her missing cat!

Cats in particular have a special ability to survive what would seem to be an inescapable fire. If your home burns, you should look for evidence that your cat may have escaped. Of course sometimes cats hide and do not live, but other times they escape through a broken window or somehow access the crawlspace. Do not give up hope on your animal until you know there is no hope. Maybe your hound ran 20 miles and is safe and sound!

This is the place to find out information on animal evacuations and disaster animal relief in the US. You can subscribe and have articles e-mailed to you immediately on publication by clicking here.

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