When wildfires started burning last year throughout British Columbia, two women from Kitsap County packed up a trailer full of donations and drove north to help.
The trailer, full of pet food, blankets, pet carriers and kitty litter, went a long way toward helping thousands of animals displaced by the fires.
“We got together a bunch of donations here at our office and then brought it up to B.C.,” Janice Danielson said. “And then, because the fires were so big, they had just about 40,000 animals that were displaced. We ended up making five trips up to B.C. with trailerloads of donations.”
When the fires finally died down, Danielson and Isabelle Cobb, who both work at Baninbridge Self Storage, wanted to turned the experience into something more. So, they started a group called Kitsap SPICE (Saving Pets In Crisis Everywhere) and began stockpiling pet supplies in a storage unit.
“People talk about being ready, but in a pinch, people are not ready if they have to evacuate their animals. So, we thought we would start putting stuff in a storage unit, and we’ll try to be ready if something bad happens here,” Danielson said.
Since then, they’ve started a fund with the Kitsap Community Foundation, which they use to send money to animal shelters near ongoing disasters. Money is raised through fundraisers, and the two put out calls for donations when they plan to assist a shelter.
So far, money has gone to shelters to places like Ventura County, California, and Austin, Texas.
“Trauma and crisis have no borders,” Danielson said. “If we can help, we help.”
This year has been another bad fire year. Danielson and Cobb have made one trip to British Columbia and another to California.
Currently, Cobb is driving down to Siskiyou County, California, where the Delta Fire rages near Mt. Shasta. She’s towing a 5×8 trailer full of supplies that will be donated to the Siskiyou Humane Society and a nonprofit called Saving Shasta Cats, Inc.
Nicole Dwork works for both organizations. She said she posted on Facebook, asking people to donate pet carriers. Many areas in Siskiyou County have been evacuated. Dwork said her own home, located in Dunsmuir, California, was under evacuation warning, meaning she could have to leave at any time.
“People don’t typically have pet carriers lying around in case of an emergency,” she said, “so we needed a lot of them when the fires started and people needed to transport animals from their homes.”
She said she was surprised when Cobb and Danielson messaged her on Facebook to offer donations.
“We are just so grateful,” Dwork said. “It’s just fantastic that they were able to provide such a great gift.”
Danielson said that anyone wishing to donate supplies can drop them off at Bainbridge Self Storage, which can be reached at 206-855-9500.