Critter Cabana: What Fire and Love Look Like

We’re feeling a little bit fragile today here in our small Oregon town.

This morning, our beloved pet shop caught on fire.

I don’t know what the pet store is like in your town. In ours, it’s a hub. Families go there to hang out. Kids hold puppies and kittens. Shelter animals find their forever families. Birds share all the small town gossip. And giant tortoises wander around unsupervised because they’re more responsible than our children and less likely pee on something. The animals are loved and cherished, some of them permanent fixtures and friends. So a fire like this? It’s heartbreaking. Like our own pets were caught inside.

Yeah, I know no people were injured. That’s a blessing. And I know the world is full of bigger problems than the loss of a pet store. But my kids’ world — and, to be fair, my world — is smaller than the whole planet, and it feels off-kilter tonight.

We saw the smoke billowing from the building on the way to school this morning. Before all of the fire engines arrived, even. Aden, my animal lover, knew right away, from far off, that Critter Cabana was in trouble. I took her to school anyway, but I’m not sure it was the right thing to do. Maybe I should’ve kept her home. This is the perpetual state of motherhood, I think… the Maybe I Should’ves.

After I dropped Miss Aden off, I went back downtown to the sidewalk outside the store. I hoped to take pictures of animals, safe and sound, to show Aden later. I didn’t know what else to do that might soothe her. So I stood in the cold and watched silently while the firefighters brought out the critters who made it.

Not as many as we would’ve liked. But some.

What I saw, though, was more than a rescue operation. I saw a community coming together. Folks pitching in to bring water and coffee and kindness. People offering support in tiny, tangible ways to business owners and animal lovers who are experiencing devastating loss. And I saw people who were terribly sad, but sad together. Which looked to me a whole lot like Love.

Tonight, we send our hearts to the folks at Critter Cabana. We express gratitude for our local heroes. We share our community’s sorrow.

And tomorrow, friends, we send our hands and our wallets. Because Love looks like that, too. Love is and Love does. Right?

Love IS and Love DOES.

……….

If you’re interested in making a donation toward animal care or rebuilding efforts, please follow the Critter Cabana Rebuild / Animal Care Donations page on Facebook.

……….

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ABOUT BETH WOOLSEY I'm a writer. And a mess. And mouthy, brave, and strong. I believe we all belong to each other. I believe in the long way 'round. And I believe, always, in grace in the grime and wonder in the wild of a life lived off course from what was, once, a perfectly good plan.
20 comments
  1. […] learned about penis tendons about a week ago at the pet store. We did not know about this […]

  2. […] morning at Critter Cabana, our local pet store. Love embracing the sadness is well documented by Beth Woolsey, blogger of “Five Kids is a Lot of Kids” (her blog is worth following). And the greater […]

  3. […] when another shooter went on a spree.  The small town where I went to college is hurting over a fire in their beloved pet store.  A friend is hurting over the unexpected loss of her husband.  These tales of sadness can seem […]

  4. I’m so sorry for your town and the Critter Cabana.

    Yes, mothering is full of ‘Maybe I Should’ves.’ I think you should show her the pictures and talk about how everyone expressed their love that day. Found one big or small way they could help. I was reminded of a quote I heard from Fred Rogers–

    “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”

    Teach your children to look for the helpers and, when they can, BE the helpers.

    Sending hugs to your little town.

    1. I love “look for the helpers.” Especially appropriate given today’s tragedy in Connecticut. Thanks for your note, Beth. xo

  5. Sending hugs and love and prayers (and a few tears) to all! <3

  6. Sending love and hugs to you all xxxooo

  7. I am so sorry for that! My hearts breaks for all the animals that could not be saved. 🙁

    1. Mine, too, Joy. Thanks for your love.

  8. This is beautiful. I was so proud of our town today.
    xo Emily (the one you met at Chapters)

    1. It was so great of you to introduce yourself, Emily! Thank you. And you’re right… the ‘berg has it going on.

  9. I would like to donate fifty (50) open edition prints from my Inspired by Caden collection to help raise money for Critter Cabana. I will donate100% of the proceeds to help Critter Cabana begin to rebuild.. Please tell me where I can bring these prints for purchase in our community of Newberg. You may call me on my cell (xxx) xxx-xxxx.

    1. What a wonderful contribution, Judy! Your prints are adorable. I know there are several events and fundraising opportunities for Critter Cabana. I recommend getting in touch with them via message at https://www.facebook.com/CritterCabanaNewbergRebuildAnimalCareDonations … they’ll be able to coordinate from there.

  10. I’m so sorry. Prayers for your whole town. Amen and amen to your closing thought. Especially at the holidays, love IS and love DOES. To love is a verb.

  11. Here is how our little studio is helping! If you know of any kiddos that want to give back, here is a tangible way!

    Paint your Favorite Pet Portrait!
    This Saturday morning class, ALL proceeds will go to help Critter Cabana from the fire today! Come on over to the studio with a photo of your pet, and let’s help make a difference!

    Santa Workshop cancelled for this weekend, and instead it will be Pet Portrait Painting Day! $25 on Saturday from 9:30-11:30 at Blue Plume Studio. Please call to register, as limited spots are available. Monetary donations are welcome for rebuilding animal care!
    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151342697526970&set=a.10150484124071970.420125.240749716969&type=1&theater

    1. What a great idea, Jennifer! Thanks for sharing.

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