“I was just ill that I left them behind,” the homeowner said.
She has 10 guinea pigs of her own and happened to be taking care of two others for a friend the day of the fire.
She said she was just about to leave for the grocery store when she saw smoke. Moments later, someone from Boulder County Sheriff’s Office banged on her door and told her to evacuate right away.
“I felt so sick inside for days. There was nothing I could do. I’m the worst pet parent ever,” the homeowner said.
She was able to grab one of the guinea pigs and flee. She drove straight to Fort Collins, Colorado, to the home of her friend Natalie Riggs, who also runs Cavies and Canines Animal Rescue. The homeowner had adopted a few of her guinea pigs from the rescue.
“I was just kind of known as the crazy guinea pig lady,” Riggs said.
It wasn’t until Saturday afternoon that the homeowner learned from her neighbor that her home survived by just feet. The fire burned right up to her back fence. She said that right away she headed back to Superior, as she didn’t know the status of her animals, especially with heavy snow and cold temperatures and no electricity.
She said once she got to her neighborhood, it was blocked off and she wasn’t allowed in.
“’I said, ‘Please, oh please, I need to care for the animals who haven’t had food or water for several days,’” the homeowner said.
But due to safety concerns, she was turned away. She let Riggs know, and Riggs started making calls to Boulder Animal Control, other rescues and emergency services.
“We were talking what would be worse for them if they burn to death or freeze to death? Just very morbid conversations,” Riggs said.
She even had a veterinarian on standby and with a few strings pulled, a foster through her rescue was able to get into the Superior home.
“By some miracle, they were all alive,” Riggs said.
The “piggies,” as Riggs calls them, were transferred to her home, where they will stay until the homeowner can get back into her house permanently.
The homeowner is staying in a hotel in Fort Collins. Right now, her home has soot from the smoke in her home’s vent system and insulation. She doesn’t expect to get back in for at least another month, if not longer.
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