From Hurricane Irma to the wildfires in California, one of the most devastating consequences of these natural disasters is that countless pets are left to die by pet owners who can’t evacuate with their furry family members. However, there are some animal lovers who simply refuse to leave their pets behind.
One such heroic woman is Californian college student Natasha Wallace. She was driving home from class at night when she saw the flames about to envelop her home. Rather than race in the other direction and put her own safety first, she first drove into the danger zone, entered her house and grabbed her 4-year-old pit bull, Bentley.
But the story doesn’t end there. Because even though the pair was now safe in Wallace’s car, they had another problem: The roads were impassable due to the thousands of cars that were gridlocked as people were trying desperately to escape the blaze. As the flames grew closer, Wallace realized she had no choice but to leave her car and flee on her bike.
Most people would have decided to leave Bentley behind. After all, this was a life-or-death situation and a dog can’t ride a bike. But not Wallace. She grabbed a duffel bag from the car and told Bentley to get inside. As she tells Fox 40, “I grabbed my dog and I told him, ‘Hey man, this is serious. You need to just sit in the bag,’ and he hopped right in.”
Wow. Imagine the kind of trust and love that must exist between these two to allow a 70-pound dog to just hop right into a duffel bag on command, even as chaos was erupting around him. But Bentley trusted his beloved owner and climbed in—and then Wallace slung him over her shoulder, got on her bike and drove several miles down the treacherous highway.
Wallace was prepared to bike as long as her legs would hold out but, luckily, a fellow Good Samaritan saw her and pulled over. Wallace and Bentley climbed into his vehicle and he drove them to safety.
What an incredible story of heroism and compassion. While we cannot always put our fur babies above our own safety and our family’s safety, stories like this prove that with a little sweat and a whole lotta heart, we can treat animals with the dignity and grace they deserve.
If you want to donate money or supplies to help animals who have been impacted by the wildfires in California, check out these important organizations. Or if you want to donate directly to Natasha Wallace and her doggie and help them get back on their feet, visit GoFundMe.
[h/t: Good Housekeeping]