12 guinea pigs survive Colorado fire, days in freezing temps

West

SUPERIOR, Colo. (KDVR) — A Colorado homeowner, who wishes to remain anonymous, is thankful all of her guinea pigs survived the recent Marshall Fire.

“I was just ill that I left them behind,” the homeowner said.

More than 1,000 homes were destroyed and tens of thousands of people were forced from their homes by the late-season wildfire.

The homeowner has 10 guinea pigs of her own and happened to be taking care of two others for a friend the day of the Marshall Fire.

She said she was just about to leave for the grocery store when she saw smoke. Moments later, she said someone with 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 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 when the homeowner learned from her neighbor that her home had survived the fire by just feet. The flames burned right up to her back fence. She said right away she headed back to Superior, not knowing the status of her animals, especially with no electricity, heavy snow and cold temperatures.

She said once she got to her neighborhood, it was blocked off by members of the military and police and that she wasn’t allowed back 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. Riggs started making calls to Boulder Animal Control and 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. 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 be safe and warm until the homeowner can get back into her house permanently.

The homeowner is staying in a hotel in Fort Collins. As a result of the fire, there is soot in both her home’s vent system and insulation. It could be another month before she re-enters the house but is relieved knowing her twelve guinea pigs are safe.

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