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The Arizona Humane Society is helping people and pets who were torn apart by the Yarnell Hill fire.

They've been running a makeshift shelter at Wickenburg High School, where evacuees have been reunited with their pets.

One of them was a 70-year-old man named Fred. The Humane Society didn't give us his last name. He told them that he left his big dog, Kirkland, behind when he was evacuated because of the fire. He had been staying with relatives in Phoenix before making the trek to Wickenburg.

Humane Society Spokeswoman Bretta Nelson said they sent one of their lead vets to Fred's house to check on the dog.

"They found her in the backyard," Nelson said. "Fred actually had an amazing set up there. She could go in and out of the house. She also had tons of shade, tons of clean water and food."

Nelson said they brought Kirkland to Wickenburg for an emotional reunion with Fred. Nelson fought back tears as she said, "Fred came to see her, and then he said to her, ‘Girl did you think I wasn't coming back for you?' It was such a heartwarming moment."

After several moments of silence while he hugged and petted Kirkland, Fred sent everyone into laughter by saying to the dog, "Don't you look at me with those eyes, I feel guilty enough as it is!"

Nelson said it's great to know that Fred's house is intact, and that he and Kirkland can now carry on with their lives.


For volunteer, fundraising and other ways to assist those affected by the Yarnell Hill Fire, go to yarnellfallenfirefighters.com.

Bob McClay, Reporter

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