YREKA, Calif. — On the first day of the Klamathon Fire near Hornbrook in early July, flames overtook CAL FIRE firefighter Brandon Feller, who received significant burns to his face.
Flown to the UC Davis ICU Burn Center, Feller spent many days in recovery from his injuries. Friends and family rallied around Feller, starting a wildly successful GoFundMe campaign to support his convalescence.
Now, mere weeks later, Feller is out of the hospital and finding new friends at the non-profit Rescue Ranch animal shelter in Yreka.
The ranch hosts dogs displaced by the Klamathon Fire. One such puppy, Rookie, made a perfect companion for Feller.
"The Rescue Ranch felt that the match was an opportunity for both Feller and Rookie to heal together over the coming months, and build a close relationship for a lifetime," the organization said in a statement. They also said that they waived their usual adoption fee "as a thank you to Feller for his brave service."
Shelters like Rescue Ranch often provide qualified care for pets and livestock displaced by dramatic events such as wildfire. Rescue Ranch has some tips for pet owners to be prepared for just such an occasion:
- Find "buddies," people you trust (friends, family, neighbors), and make sure they know how to address the needs of your pets—just in case disaster strikes when you are at work or otherwise away from home.
- Make sure your buddies have written permission to care for your animals and have access to your pet emergency kit and/or kennels.
- Have a sticker or sign on your house to inform fire personnel that there are animals inside. It's best to place this sign by entrances where it will be easily visible.
- Families should have a "go" bag for their pets as well as themselves. This should include food, water and medication for three days, copies of vaccination records and medical histories, lists of important animal emergency contacts (such as your vet's office), collars with tags and microchip info, photos of you with your pets, and leashes or crates in case you need to stay with family, friends, or at an evacuation center where people may be unfamiliar to your pet.