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An owner & her flock become fire evacuees

By Eileen Cowles

The riveting tale of how an aminal lover is evacuated with 19 petsOn the evening of Sunday, October 21, 2007, a friend called to ask if my friend in Lakeside, California, was safe from the fires. “What fire?” I asked. It was on the news. There were fires near the city of Ramona, north of Lakeside, as well as east San Diego County near the Mexican border. My friend in Lakeside, Andy, does Alaskan Malamute, Siberian Husky and Leonberger rescue and has a lot of dogs. I tried his phone but it was busy, so I left a message: “Would it be helpful to come get some of the dogs?” I tried e-mail next. He responded to that. He was concerned but OK for now.

A Helping Hand
On Monday, October 22, Andy’s friend, Mary, phoned about 8:30 am. It wasn’t looking good in Lakeside: Could I come get three dogs? The fire, referred to as the Witch Creek Fire, was coming south and west from Ramona, so Andy was most at threat. Evacuations were announced east of I-15 coming south of the city of Rancho Bernardo. Another friend, Maile, came to help transport dogs to her place. About 4:30 PM, I headed home with three dogs and two cats.

Heading south, I was concerned by the amount of black smoke but knew the fires were burning to the east and south of my home. I let the dogs out in the back yard and took the cats in their carrier upstairs and set them up in the TV room.

Feeling dirty and gritty, I showered. As I started to dress, the phone rang. It was a recording for mandatory evacuation directing me to go to Qualcom Stadium (home of the San Diego Chargers NFL team). How was I going to evacuate with 11 parrots, five large dogs and three cats with a Honda Civic?

**For the full article, pick up the October 2008 issue of BIRD TALK**

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