Carr Fire Testimony: Our Story
Living in the North State, many people have seen first hand the devastation of wildfire. Our community has faced great adversity during the disaster, and it is safe to say we all know at least one person who has been directly affected by the Carr Fire. Here in Redding, the Carr Fire’s devastation was harrowing. Happy Tails itself had scavenged up supplies for wildfires up north, just a month before hand. The Thursday when the Carr Fire began to really stir up, we witnessed one local business, that had each employee taking turns to contact loved ones. Some had already evacuated and others were concerned for their own homes.
That is when we knew our shop had to step up. My co-workers and I, before we even opened up shop, were busy making arrangements to gather donations. A collection section was set up in store, and we had our most affordable foods arranged in to care package deals to give customers an opportunity to help our community. Which was graciously responded to. We didn’t know how much help we would be able to provide, but we were going to do our best. We had next to no experience in a crisis situation, yet we had a list of needed staples readied. That is when we started making calls to our local rescues and animal hospitals. Rescues like Pawz For A Cause/ResQ, Tails of Rescue, Raining Cats N’ Dogs, Annie’s Pet Rescue, Webb's Animal Sanctuary, S.N.A.P, Haven Humane, Pet Aire Resort, Jackson Ranch, Asher VCA, Care Animal Hospital, Dana Veterinary Clinic, and many more came together to house and save poor animals put out by the fire.
Our customers didn’t hesitate to help; several returned with arm fulls of blankets and supplies every week following. Our customers had collected over six cases of wet food in the first day and many people, who were not even regular customers came into donate. Our customers who had been affected by the fire itself had even arrived, and were ready to give. We will never cease to be amazed by the people we encountered, and had the chance to work alongside during those hard times. We recognize everyone who donated, you made a difference.
Following our first day of donations. That Friday we closed early, and we got a call from some of our Vets needing supplies. The smoke was horrible in town, and it could only be compared to a post-apocalyptic scene. The horizon was a deep orange and you could no longer see the mountains.. A dear friend and fellow employee’s car even broke down helping ferry supplies. The team didn’t stop there though, and we called in our friends for back up. We had some amazing folk from Arcata, show up with two pallets of supplies. Brian and The Beast (his pick up truck) had to take detours to reach us. They helped supply five different hospitals and evacuation points with pet food, cat litter, and carriers.
It was a terrifying time for the team, because we did not know if any of us would hear the call to be evacuated. We closed shop for the weekend, but our work did not cease. It was easier for us to keep busy, rather than allow worry to overwhelm our thoughts. Working with the rescues was gratifying but difficult with communication with all of the rescues, a struggle to maintain. The majority of locations were overwhelmed during evacuation, and shuttling animals was the chief concern. We did our best to work around the rescues as they handled the animals caught in the devastation, but the feeling of helplessness was relentless.
We used our connections to reach out to bigger companies with more resources, to meet the ever growing demand of food and supplies. Not only did our shipping companies deliver, our brands from pet foods, to flea preventives, stepped up. One of our sanitary companies, Earth Animals that provides top notch poop bags reached out to us directly. Our team was certainly swimming in poop bags afterwards but there was one less mess to have to clean up. . . With that said, we wanted to extend our overwhelming gratitude to our companies who helped our community during the Carr Fire; NewCo, Animal Supplies, Central Distribution, United Pacific Pet, Champion Petfoods, Fromm, Nutrisource, Earthborn, Natural Chemistry, Earth Animal, Purina, Ruff Refuge, Adam’s Plus Flea & Tick, Thriftology, and many more.
Happy Tails had always focused on pet wellness and giving back. This won’t be our last time reaching out, and we will be happy to step up again. We are proud to have aided our community and Shasta County. We also wanted to take a minute to thank Pedro GTP Relief for stepping up and helping provide not to just pet families but everyone, we had a chance to work with them for a short time and they’re doing great outreach. Our work isn’t done and we’re on a long road to recovery but our team is thankful to have been safe during the fire, we are thankful for our customers, and our community for pulling together.
Caitlyn Patterson, Store Manager