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'Forgotten' dogs rescued from Southern California wildfires'

A volunteer holds one of the "forgotten" dogs rescued after California wildfires.

Story Published: Oct 11, 2009 at 5:29 PM PDT

By Ray Lane

SEATTLE - Hundreds of dogs left behind or who ran away during the California wildfires last month are finding new homes around Western Washington - thanks to a local pet rescue group.

Many of the animals were about to be euthanized until Ginger's Pet Rescue in Seattle intervened. Now the group is bringing the dogs here - to start a new life.

"They all have a story - we can see it in their eyes. They really even don't need to tell us," says Martha Gibson-Wolfe, one of the rescuers.

Volunteers with Ginger's Pet Rescue say the dogs were on Death Row - frightened and confused - animals of all sizes, breeds and backgrounds.

All were lost, separated or abandoned by their families during the chaos of the recent wildfires in Southern California.

Animal shelters there could no longer house them all, and many were on the verge of being euthanized, until this group saved them.

"You see all these really nice dogs, and you think if the truck was just a few days later or even just a few hours later, they could be put to sleep," says rescuer Catherine Hannan.

The forgotten dogs are searching for a new start.

"A lot of them did not have tags," says Ginger Luke, who started the rescue group. "They were running scared. A lot of these dogs are sick, they're having respiratory problems; we're getting huge vet bills."

Quite a few of the dogs are in bad shape, with severe eye, skin and breathing problems from the fires. Many are still traumatized.

More dogs are being brought to Ginger's Pet Rescue every week. Adoption events are later held at Petco and Petsmart stores.

"We can get some that are incredibly healthy and vibrant and look like they've been well cared for - down to the ones that have been utterly neglected, and they're skin and bones," says Gibson-Wolfe.

The volunteers want to place all the dogs in foster homes - with the hope they'll soon be adopted.

"All they need is your love and security - that's what they really, really need at this point," says one volunteer.


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