Community bands together to assist pets after South Street fire

    While there were no human casualties from the Oct. 25 two-alarm fire at South Street restaurant Bridget Foy’s, pet caregivers still felt loss. Two rescue dogs, Precious and Yogi, died from smoke inhalation at adjoining store Doggie Style Pets. The two dogs were staying at the store through an arrangement with Saved Me, a no-kill shelter.

    “It was pretty terrible and gut-wrenching,” said Justine Price, vice president of Doggie Style Pets.

    Price said firefighters were able to rescue Caper, a white cat who was also staying in the store. He was rushed to Veterinary Specialty & Emergency Center and recovered the next day. They were not able to enter the shelter to rescue Precious, a chihuahua mix, and Yogi, a 4-year-old shepherd mix. The former was rescued from a hoarding situation in Kentucky while the latter was saved from hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico.

    A Facebook post from Saved Me noted the tragedy of the situation.

    “Both were learning to make their way. Both loved other dogs. Both were learning that people are good. They were taken from us too early.”

    A week later, the now-closed Doggie Style Pets donated its entire inventory to local animal-rescue organizations. A statement from the shelter said it donated inventory to Saved Me, Green Street Rescue, Hand2Paw, Animal Aid USA and Red Paw Emergency Relief Team.

    “We got a lot of things out of here faster than I thought we were going to,” Price said the day the shelter handed out donations. “Everybody has been really grateful and thanking us and it has been nice getting everything into the shelters.”

    Price said she expects the store to reopen in the spring.

    In addition to benefiting from Doggie Style’s donations, Red Paw was also on hand during the fire. The organization helped displaced residents from a nearby apartment building reunite with their pets. Founder and president Jen Leary, a lesbian, was in charge of dispatching that evening. She said the organization provided at least a dozen residents with pet carriers and food.

    Additionally, Red Paw, which exists to help animal fire victims and their humans, had to take one dog in while its owner found a new place to stay. Eventually, the client found a place and requested a crate; coincidentally, Red Paw was able to provide assistance with help from the store from which they received donations.

    “We had just been at Doggie Style grabbing food and supplies and we had just gotten this giant crate from them,” Leary said. “We were able to provide [the owner] with a crate and all of the food and supplies she needed to have her dog back with her to stay in the apartment. It really was full-circle.

    “All of the items are going right back to somebody from the fire so it’s poetic in a way,” she added. “We got it because Doggie Style was affected by a fire but it’s going to go right back to people who lost everything in the fire.”

    Leary expressed her appreciation for the donations.

    “We really appreciate Doggie Style’s generosity and we are thinking of them, Bridget Foy’s and all of the people who lost their homes.”