I saw smoke billowing just a couple of blocks over, I thought I should check and make sure people were okay. I got there while Fire Trucks were still pulling up, one was spraying the house. Flames were bursting through the roof and climbing the tall pine tree in back. When I got out, I saw a man running and yelling “That’s their Dog!” I knew that wrangling a panicked dog takes more than one set of hands, so I started running after him.
The dog would run down a cul de sac, where we would try to corner her, but she’d find a way to get around us. One time I got lose enough to touch her, and she was covered with fire hose water and thick soot. She ran back a few blocks, so we kept following. She was limping and tired, and she finally stopped on a strangers doorstep. Someone gave us an old leash, so I made a loop out of it, and got close enough to slip it around her neck. Once I had her, the other guy had to leave, but a couple of neighbors came out to help. Her back foot was bleeding and she was terrified, so we put a bowl of water in front of her and tried to calm her down.
I took a water bottle from my work van and washed her injured foot to see the damage. She had torn one of her paw pads off, so I grabbed the medical kit from the van and dressed her wound. Her front paws also looked raw, either from running or from trying to claw out of the burning house. Her eyes were large and scared, and she was panting heavily.
We got word that the homeowner arrived, which was a block away now. I just used a towel to get the soot off and keep calming her down. She started to relax, at least as much as she could, so I just kept her calm and waited. A while later, a neighbor drove the homeowner over in a small SUV, to get the dog “Rebel”. Since her paws hurt, she wouldn’t get up to move, so I had to scoop both arms under her and carry her over. The homeowner had two cats in her lap, but we learned another 6 were unaccounted for.
I got Rebel into the back seat, and they drove off to the vet to get them checked out.
Days like this remind me of how lucky I am, and how much I take for granted.