PLEASANTON (KPIX) – One of the largest pet adoption events in the country was happening at the Alameda County Fairgrounds in Pleasanton. Many of the animals lost their homes to wildfires.
Sable, one of the puppies up for adoption, once lived in Lake County where residents have had to deal with almost half a dozen major wildfires in as many years.
Ten-week-old Charles Barkeley, no relation to the basketball player, is what Orphan Dog Rescue calls a “fire dog.” He’s a pet that ends up in a shelter after the owner’s home burns down, or the owner can’t afford the dog because of fire damage.
“It’s hard to listen to the stories, it’s hard to hear the needs,” said Karen Schaver, who founded Orphan Dog Rescue.
Lake County has been hit particularly hard by wildfires over the past few years, leading to over-flowing shelters and fewer people who are able to adopt. That’s where Orphan Dog Rescue steps in.
“When people come home and their home is no longer there, then we start having some issues,” said Schaver.
That’s why Orphan Dog brought all the adoptable fire dogs and two fire cats to the Alameda County Fairgrounds for one of the biggest adoption events in the country.
“When we can come to an event like this, in a city like this, we’re able to access thousands of people,” said Schaver.
In fact, more than 140,000 people were expected to come to the Alameda County Fairgrounds this weekend.
Animal rescue organizations from across the Bay Area brought all the adoptable animals you’d normally think of dogs and puppies, cats and kittens, plus some you wouldn’t. Anyone looking take home a rescued pigeon would find one here.
Maria Wick found Franky, a 3-legged mutt who was severely injured in Lake County.
“There’s so many emotions because I feel so happy to be able to give him a second chance,” said Wick.
Raymond Menchaca was looking for a dog for his daughter Faith.
“Well I know there’s a lot of fires going on, so dogs that are misplaced or don’t have owners, they’re going to need someone to take care of them,” said Menchaca.
As all these dogs head home to loving families, more space is made for the next round of ‘fire dogs’ that will inevitably come in during the next big wildfire.
“We’re all in the same boat, all of us. We just all try to help each other out as best we can,” said Schaver.
More than 1000 animals were adopted on Saturday. The event continues on Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., at the Alameda County Fairgrounds.