Yesterday I posted something called “Don’t Scare Easy.” It was about the courage of the firefighters at the High Park Fire and people evacuated. Today I am writing about creatures afraid of the fire.
My wife and I have not been required to evacuate from our home as have so many in Larimer County, Colorado. We are near some areas that have been evacuated, however.
On Saturday, June 16th, we went into Fort Collins. When we returned home, we saw two large black dogs behind our house. We do not have black dogs. We had left our yellow Labs in their pen in the barn. The black dogs were rummaging in a pile of wood. My guess is that they were trying to get to some rabbits which live under the woodpile. The dogs appeared hungry. They looked up when we drove in and parked, and then resumed their task of hunting rabbits by digging, a method unlikely to bring success.
One of the dogs was a black Lab. I think it had a collar. The other dog was much larger and more furry. I’d guess it was part Newfoundland.
My wife immediately called Larimer County Animal Control. We suspected that the dogs belonged to someone who had been evacuated from the path of the fire. She promptly received a return call from an officer who politely thanked us for trying to help the dogs, but candidly stated that no one was available to get them because their department was working to remove animals in the evacuation areas. We were advised to be careful about approaching dogs on the loose that we did not know.
So I approached the dogs. I crouched down in a non-threatening position and gently called them. The lab stopped digging in the woodpile and came a few steps towards me. The Newfoundland also paused, but then he warily left his task and trotted away, toward our barn. His action caused the Lab to turn away from me to join his buddy.
In order to avoid a fight, my plan was to get our dogs out of their pen, into our car and up to our house so I could lure the stray dogs into the pen with food. I would keep them in the pen until someone could come get them, either the owners or an officer from Animal Control.
One of the ways animals that have been separated from their owners in the fire can be reunited is that a photographer friend of ours went to the fairgrounds, where displaced animals have been brought, and took pictures of them. Then owners searching for their pets can view the “inventory.”
My efforts to proceed with my good plan did not get very far. The black dogs just kept going, traveling off our property and into a wooded area along the North Poudre Irrigation Canal. They are on their own, trying to hunt and scavange. I wish them well.
They are obviously not feral dogs. They are somebody’s pets. Their lives have been changed by and challenged by the fire. I hope they will be reunited with whomever is missing them. My heart goes out to them all.