Woman details desperate efforts to save pets in Kaipoi fire
Denise and Tabitha. Photo / Geoff Sloan
A grateful Canterbury pet lover detailed the desperate efforts to revive his pets after they were trapped in a house fire that left a cat, a kitten and a parakeet.
Although distraught over losing Clover, one of her first litters Chungus and Buddy – due to smoke inhaling in her cage – the mother-of-two revealed that the collateral damage could have been much greater when an accidental fire spread from the kitchen of a house in Kaiapoi.
Tabitha, another kitten, was first blinded by fire at a property in Cridland St on April 22.
The five-week-old girl suffered four epileptic seizures, a grim development that made owner Denise fear that she too should be put down.
“The vet was concerned about the neurological damage, but wanted to give her 24 hours to reassemble. I’m glad we gave her time. We took her home, she slept, ate, then ‘bing ‘. she could see, ”says Denise.
Tabitha, Olive, Clover along with dogs Molly and Sophie were given Denise mouth-to-mouth – then oxygen – after firefighters brought them to safety.
“They were amazing, absolute respect for them,” she said.
Sadly, Chungus perished inside and one-year-old Clover had to be euthanized two days later.
“The kids (her son and daughter) were really upset about Clover. They bought her with their pocket money right after the lockdown last year. It was their kind of treat, they had saved up and they were the two cat mummies, says Denise.
Although Clover, the last animal to be evacuated, was resuscitated, there was no hope of a cure at the Rangiora veterinary center.
“She would have no quality of life. She was paralyzed. She was shaking with neurological damage. She couldn’t walk but she heard the children’s voices when they brought her in,” Denise said.
“She started trying to drag herself towards the children. She could hear them. She went over to them and hugged them.
Seven-year-old boxer-labrador cross Molly and Sophie – a one-year-old rescue dog with staff in her genes – spent two days at the vet center and are still recovering.
They were taking IV fluids to relieve dehydration and charcoal tablets to calm their stomachs.
“They have a smoker’s cough and they are coughing up ash. We were given an asthma inhaler to help them breathe,” Denise added.
The family, who were out when the fire broke out, are now in temporary accommodation.
“We lost everything to fire, water damage and smoke, or all three,” Denise said.
But they still have their dogs, kittens, and 10-year-old cat Muppet, who Denise says escaped through a window before the flames set in.
“It was like ‘goodbye’, but mom wouldn’t be going without her babies.”