Local News

Hundreds of pets reunited with owners, others still missing after fire

Facebook page for missing pets plays critical role

Missing dog spotted after escaping burned home

BLACK FOREST, Colo. - More than three weeks after the Black Forest Fire, hundreds of families have been reunited with missing pets and others aren't giving up hope of finding their animals.

Dave Kaercher's Boxer, Bella, was staying at his parents' house with his two other dogs when the fire started.

"When my dad was running out of the house, he left the back door open in case they were still in there," said Kaercher. "He thought my mom had them. There was so much panic going on."

The home burned down and Bella was the only dog able to escape. Kaercher only learned Bella had survived when he made a connection through the Black Forest Fire Lost and Found Pets Facebook page. A woman posted that she had spotted Bella. Then Kaercher saw his dog himself near the School In The Woods on Vollmer Road.

"Saturday driving around when I actually saw her, I just couldn't believe it," Kaercher said.

Bella is skittish and scared and wouldn't come to him. The Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region set up a cage trap near the school where workers are checking daily.

People from the Facebook page, even total strangers, have also been helping.

"I think the Facebook page is amazing. All the people wanting to help and volunteer and come out and look," said Kaercher. "The Facebook page was very key in this."

The page was started by Cindy McKeon, who has been battling bacterial meningitis since April.

"This is how I can help," McKeon said by phone from the hospital.

She said the page has helped reunite hundreds of pets with their owners since the fire.

McKeon helped locate Stewie, a Great Pyrenees that ran away after he got spooked by helicopters fighting the fire.

"We're pretty lucky. I didn't think we'd see him again," said William White, whose family owns the dog.

Without even a photo of Stewie, McKeon matched him up with a dog taken to the Humane Society.

"Finding your animal on a Facebook page is pretty great," said White.

The Humane Society says, if you are missing or find a pet, the first thing you should do is fill out a lost and found form or call the Humane Society at 719-473-1741.

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