Pets left in Fort McMurray after wildfire reunited with owners in Edmonton
About 600 pets from Fort McMurray are safe in an Edmonton warehouse after Alberta SPCA rescued them
Despite spending almost a week alone in an abandoned Fort McMurray, Alta., home, Simon the cat is healthy, happy and doesn't seem to have lost any weight from his portly frame.
The tabby is among about 600 animals rescued from the city and brought to a warehouse in Edmonton to be reunited with their owners in the wake of the wildfire that tore through Fort McMurray and led to a massive evacuation.
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Simon's owner, Mike Manning, couldn't be more relieved to have the cat he rescued nine years ago as a stray back in his arms. Manning was forced to leave the cat behind when the city was evacuated while he was at work, and the road back to his home was closed.
I've been so worried, not knowing. Now I know, and it's just an incredible feeling.- Stacey Park, who was reunited with her cats and parrot
"We had enough food and water for them," he said, scratching Simon's ears. "But if the house went up, I don't know what would have happened."
About 50 of the animals rescued from Fort McMurray have been reunited with their owners, SPCA spokesman Roland Lines said.
Some 400 animals remain in the holding facility, with 100 scheduled to be reunited with their owners in the coming days.
Lines said the "vast majority" of animals rescued were found to be healthy.
"It's all because of the care they were getting up in Fort McMurray. The emergency crews were feeding them and watering them as they could, as they were fighting the fires," he said.
"It's moving smoothly. The animals are stressed. Obviously what they went through up in Fort McMurray, and then even the transportation down here, it's a long ride on a truck or bus."
Lines said the facility has received all kinds of animals, from snakes and lizards, to hedgehogs and rabbits.
Evacuee Stacey Park said she was relieved to be reunited with her cats Midnight and Blue, as well as her African Grey parrot, Oscar.
Park said she had been worried about them ever since she last saw them the day of the evacuation. She was working that day, and helped with the evacuation process. She wasn't able to return to her home in the Timberlea neighbourhood to get her animals.
"I've been so worried, not knowing. Now I know, and it's just an incredible feeling," she said.
"They really went above and beyond for my pets. They look well — a little scared because lots went on — but they're good."