The Sand Fire raging near Santa Clarita had charred roughly 60 square miles at press time. And as the wall of flames drew nearer to the home kennels of the Deaf Dog Rescue of America, its owners made the tough decision to evacuate their nearly 50 dogs.
It wasn’t mandatory, but Mark and Lisa Tipton thought it was the smartest solution.
“We knew if we had an issue in the middle of the night, [we] would be here alone with 45 dogs to load up,” she posted on the rescue’s Facebook page. “Not a can-do.”
The only question was where to put them — and they found safety from the fire in, of all places, THE COOLER!
Mark, as it turns out, operates a dog training program through Karma Rescue, out of the California State Prison. Officials there let the Tiptons know they’d be happy to offer a temporary refuge for the animals, which have been rescued from across the nation.
“We arrived to find the man-cages ready for the dogs,” Lisa Tipton told NBC Los Angeles, with “food, water, beds, and igloos.”
After a trip home Sunday night, the pair returned to the prison, ready to feed, water and walk the dogs and were met with a delightful sight.
“The inmates had handled breakfast beautifully,” she said. “They were getting the dogs out for exercise and cleaning their runs… I have never, ever seen anyone clean up dog poop with such glee.”
And the dogs, even those often leery of strangers, were just as happy.
“[They] were thriving under their care,” she said, “and had wagging tales and smiles on their faces. To see incarcerated men of all races working so beautifully together to help others is a really amazing experience,” Lisa Tipton said. “If they had turned us away, with 97 degree [heat], we would’ve had dead dogs in the trailer.”
It looks like both dogs and inmates will enjoy one another’s company for several more days as the fire — 60 percent contained at press time — gets further under control.
To donate and help the Tiptons cover the expense, visit their website.