An unprecedented number of wildfires on the west coast threaten the lives not only of humans but of wild and domestic animals. These fires move at an alarming rate, consuming everything in their paths. Animals cannot outrun the flames and so are being burned alive or choked to death by smoke. They die confused, frightened, with no place to go. I wish I could save them all, and it breaks my heart that I cannot.
Lost homes can be rebuilt but lives lost are gone forever. By the time you finish reading this, dozens, perhaps hundreds more animals will have died in fear, pain, and misery. It’s a tragedy of epic proportions you won’t read about in the newspaper or see of TV.
During past fires, I have volunteered at Last Call animal shelters, helping to reunite lost cats and dogs with their owners. I helped wash animals brought in completely covered with ash. We flushed out their eyes with warm water and checked them for burns and other wounds. The animals were crying and shaking, so most of all we let them know they were safe and cared for.
I urge anyone who can make the time to volunteer at your local animal rescue. Even in times and places were there is no emergency, animals need you to help them find safe and loving adoptive homes.
We must all be stewards of the earth’s animals. Love them. Help them. Do not harm or kill them.