With less than a minute to spare, Sandy Negrete managed to load her dogs into the car and escape the fire that would be named the 2nd worst in California’s history. Her community of Middletown was one of the worst hit, with more than half its residents losing their homes, including Sandy and her husband Antonio. Amongst the rubble of their home they found three of their lambs severely burned. Fortunately, Middletown Animal Hospital was unscathed and in the wake of the disaster, owner Dr. Jeff Smith decided to treat all the town’s animals at no cost. A $10,000 grant from the Banfield Foundation to the California Veterinary Medical Foundation enabled Dr. Smith and staff to keep their doors open. In the first month, almost 1,000 animals were treated, including the three Negrete lambs who have now fully recovered thanks to the kindness of those near and far.

“Knowing that their animal family was going to be taken care of while they navigated the insurance, contractor, government, hazmat, housing, vehicle, and possession replacement dimensions of the fire gave them some sorely needed relief and peace of mind." – Dr. Jeff Smith  

Photo credit: Seth Casteel