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Arizona Humane Society helping fire evacuees reunite with their pets

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

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About the Author

Years with the company: I started on January 2, 2006.

Education: I was born in San Antonio, Texas, but we moved to Phoenix when I was one-year-old in 1957. I grew up here and graduated from Alhambra High School and attended Phoenix College.

Family: I am married to my wife Rene', who is a librarian in the Washington school district. During free time, I may be found playing basketball in the driveway with my son, Devin. He's also keeping me busy with school, Little League, and playing in chess tournaments around the Valley.

Favorite food: Lots of favorite food, but our favorite restaurant is Fajitas.

Favorite spot in Arizona: The Little America Hotel in Flagstaff.

Favorite news memory: We have to go back to October 15, 1979. I was a country music air personality at KROP Radio in Brawley, California, when we had a 6.7 earthquake. Thankfully, there were no deaths and only minor injuries, but the entire community was pretty freaked out and listening to the station on their transistor radios. I would not want to go through an earthquake again, but it sure was a great night to work in radio and see how it can make a difference in people's lives.

First job: Working as a stringer for 'The Arizona Republic' at high school football games. My first real job was flipping burgers at the old Sandy's Hamburgers at 51st Avenue and Indian School Road. My first radio job was as announcer at KALJ radio in Yuma in 1977.

First concert: Doug Oldham gospel concert in the 1970s at the old East High School in Phoenix.

Favorite sports team: Phoenix Roadrunners minor league hockey. My dad took me to a game when I was in grade school, and I was hooked. I wanted to be a radio hockey play-by-play man. I used to take my cassette recorder and sit up in the rafters of the Coliseum and do play-by-play. It was great later in life to also take my son to Roadrunners games. Too bad the team just folded, I'll miss them. (Going to the Coyotes is fun, but they're not "my" team.)

Outside interests: My family and I are active in our church - Northern Hills Community Church in Phoenix. We enjoy going to movies, sporting events, and like to vacation at the Beach Cottages in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego. And I love to play catch, basketball, football with my son.


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