Pets from Windsor Green fire being treated, reunited

No humans died in the Windsor Green fire, but there were many lives lost. Dozens of pets are missing and presumed dead.

But there are also many stories of animal refugees being found alive and reunited with their owners.

Many Grand Strand residents who had nothing to do with the fire are doing what they can to bring comfort to those fire victims who had pets lost or injured.

The fire was still raging Saturday, when VCA Palmetto Animal Hospital in Carolina Forest started getting calls from frantic Windsor Green pet owners.

Hospital employees gathered as much information as they could from each caller.

"(We asked) where your pet was, when was the last time you saw them. Pictures are great because we circulate all the information," said Melanie Stefanski, VCA's hospital manager.

Heartbreaking notes and pictures of missing pets are posted on the Grand Strand Humane Society's Facebook page and in the animal hospital's lobby.

But there are heartwarming stories, too.

A charcoal grey cat B.K. was found and reunited with his owner, and 9-year-old Fluery, a grey cat owned by a Windsor Green resident, has burns on his paws and whiskers but will be OK after treatment at the animal hospital.

If you think you've found animals that escaped the fire, VCA veterinarians have a word of caution.

"They are scared, they may be hurting, they may bite," said Dr. Laurel Berger-Bishop. "Even if they belong to you and they may love you, but they are very disturbed, obviously, so be very, very careful handling them."

Dr. Berger-Bishop says any pet that had anything to do with the fire should see a vet. The animal may be suffering from smoke inhalation or have other unseen injuries.

The Horry County animal shelter and VCA are accepting pets lost from the fire and VCA is also offering free boarding to pets of fire victims.

And the hospital's manager has this advice, if you have puppies or kittens you'd like to give to fire victims who lost pets: be sensitive to those who are still grieving.

"I think every pet is an individual and you cannot replace any pet with another," said Stefanski.

If you're a fire victim whose pet is missing, Stefanski suggests posting pictures on Facebook, bringing notes and pictures to the animal hospital and calling county animal control.

The more people you tell and the more pictures you post, the better, she says.