See Heartwarming Photos of Pets Reunited with Owners After California Wildfire
And it's all thanks to efforts on social media
A surge of heavy rain this week is expected to finally fully quench the deadliest fire in the California's history. According to CNN, the Camp Fire has killed at least 79 people. More than 17,000 structures, most of which were residential buildings, have been destroyed, and almost 700 people are still reported missing.
But humans are not the only ones to have suffered in this devastating event. Thousands of animals have been transferred to emergency veterinary hospitals, many of them injured with severe burns. The ones that survived are being taken to clinics and shelters, which are bursting at the seams.
"We've run out of space," Daniel Gebhart, the co-medical director at VCA Valley Oak Veterinary Center, told The Washington Post.
People desperately looking for their pets have been taking to social media in an effort to find them, refusing to give up hope until they are absolutely certain that they didn't make it.
Clinics are also posting photos of lost pets on social media, and several Facebook groups have popped up trying to locate lost pets or reunite those have been found with their owners.
While it's no easy task, many of these stories have happy endings. When the fire hit her home, Baylee Danz couldn't find her cats, Coco and Pebbles, before they had to evacuate. She posted photos of both of them on her personal Facebook page, and soon she was flooded with responses from strangers trying to help her find them. That alone was comforting.
"One thing I've noticed in this tragedy is the kindness of others, even strangers," Danz said. "People I didn't even know would comment on my posts. I had this whole invisible team looking for my cats."
Last week, someone identified Coco in the photos of lost pets on the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, and now the two have been reunited. Her paws were burned, but, according to Danz, she's still "eating and loves to be petted."
Many people are sharing similar stories on Twitter, like that of Casper, who survived 11 days on his own and was there to welcome his human when he got home, as dogs do.
Hermione the Cat was also reunited with her family, and one of her little humans hand-wrote a thank you letter to the VCA Valley Oak Center for helping to make it happen.
"You rescued my cat Hermione from Neal Rd," Guenivere wrote. "You also rescued all the pets from the camp fire that were left behind. We are so grateful! We were evacuated from the carr [sic] fire and she got away…We thought for sure she was gone, but you proved us wrong. Thank you so much for saving so many pets, including mine."
This little buddy has made his way back as well.
So has Snowflake, who managed to get through the fire unscathed in spite of the fact that the home was burned down.
On Thursday, Facebook user Laci Ping posted a video in which she cried after reuniting with her cat, Mayson.
Samson was very happy to be reunited with his owner after his instincts helped him avoid a path that included downed power lines while fleeing the flames. It's not the first or last time that a dog has rescued his human.
While photos are obviously extremely useful in times like these, experts are encouraging anyone looking for their lost pet to check all of the shelters in person, as the animals could be difficult to recognize via image alone.
And if you haven't already, it's always a good idea to microchip your pet, as it makes it much easier to reunite them when disaster strikes.
If you're still looking for your furry best friend, don't give up hope, as many rescued animals are still unclaimed. With dogs in particular, experts advise returning to where the house was and leaving something that smells like you so they can follow your scent.
And if you'd like to help, there are several organizations you can donate to.
While the upcoming rain in California is expected to curb concerns over further fires this winter, they may bring on flash flooding and mudslides, so check this guide on how to keep your pets safe in the event of flooding. And for more stories about some of the heroes of the Camp Fire, read all about this nurse who drove through flames to help save lives.
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