During the fires in Santa Rosa, we were awakened to evacuation orders within 1/2 mile on either side of us. We were very fortunate and our house was spared. Thus far we have heard from 4 clients whose dogs awakened them in time to grab the family and the dogs and evacuate. All of their houses burned to the ground. We have many clients who have lost their homes, and we are always amazed at their spirit and hope when they share their stories. We are so relieved they are all safe.

The second day after the fire, we received a call from a wonderful client who works at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds, requesting help grooming evacuated dogs. We groomed over 60 dogs in two vans at the fairgrounds evacuation center during the first days of the fires. Among them were two golden retrievers owned by a woman from Coffee Park who ran out the front door with nothing but the dogs.

An entire building was set up for evacuees with pets. There were 350 people living on cots in there with their pets. Every size cage, bed or leash needed was supplied. Pallets full of dog food, water bowls, and  bedding were generously donated by local farm centers. Groom customers ranged from a 78 year old lady from Fountaingrove to a young gardener with a Pit Bull who lost his home and all his tools. Another customer was a rancher from Sonoma who tried to hand us a roll of $20’s for grooming two very calm and obedient shepherds. Her house burned but she saved the barn and animals.

Our daughter Carly drove up from Santa Clara to help, and two of our groomers, Jill and Sabrina, generously donated their time. We all experienced the relief and gratitude from people who were concerned about the wellbeing of their pets. While they were homeless, they wanted to provide some relief and comfort for their animals. We began to feel the positive spirit that kept this community strong throughout this terrible disaster.

Photos are a golden retriever service dog, a Bernese Mountain Dog with the National Guard, Carly helping, fire victims, and the 3:00AM view from our driveway.

The positive spirit amidst this devastation has been remarkable, and we all hope to keep that spirit alive throughout the long recovery.

Byron and Danelle

Aussie Pet Mobile Sonoma County


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