Amidst the terrifying California wildfires, stories of inspiration and heroism abound. As thousands of people are being displaced from their homes and 42 people killed, pets, wildlife, and farm animals are also suffering, and there is no shortage of stories of heroes who are stepping up for these vulnerable creatures.
Sacramento Fire Chief Gary Loesch and one of his men are two such heroes. Loesch was driving recently down a Paradise, California road with local firefighter Chris Harvey when they saw two donkeys hobbling down the center of the road, trying to get out of the smoke. Loesch and Harvey were in the area to investigate a reported accident that was unrelated to the donkeys.
The donkeys appeared to be lost and needed immediate help if they were going to survive. The men quickly noted that the donkeys were exhausted and they realized they probably needed food and water. They tried to give them some water, and then Harvey remembered the apples the men had in their lunch bags.
Harvey noted a marked change in the demeanor of the donkeys when the apples were produced. It seems that the sweet animals knew that the men were there to help and they gobbled up the apples in short order (the donkeys…not the men).
Harvey and Loesch sent animal control officers to rescue the donkeys, but they refused to leave the donkeys’ side until help arrived.
Authorities estimate that thousands of animals have died. These include deer, black bears, bobcats, elks, cougars, coyotes, raccoons, squirrels, skunks, foxes, birds, snakes, and more. In addition to wildlife, many people have had a hard time evacuating farm animals and larger animals.
In a related story, another California man rescued a mule who was trapped in a swimming pool cover. Another donkey, a different one from the two in this article, suffered severe burns but has had a happy ending in finding a new home.
It’s heartwarming to know that even in the midst of profound human losses, people will take the time to look out for those most vulnerable: those who can’t speak for themselves, man and beast.