Critter Cabana: What Fire and Love Look Like

Dec 13 2012

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.