It’s bad enough to have a fire destroy your home and all your possessions, but a Virginia woman’s heart was breaking Saturday night when she had thought she had lost her beloved dog as well.
More than 12 hours after the fire started in an apartment building in Norfolk, Virginia, Zoey Chandler couldn’t find her Chihuahua, Taffy. She was afraid she would never see the tiny animal again. She didn’t give up hope, although she knew the odds were good the dog had been trapped inside the home and couldn’t make it out on time. But she hoped Taffy had managed to escape and was hiding somewhere or lost.
Chandler arrived home Jan. 2 around 9 p.m. to see flames pouring out of her second-floor apartment. Investigators said the fire started in the kitchen, although they are still investigating as to precisely how. They were able to contain the blaze within 30 minutes.
Nine adults and two children in four apartments are now homeless due to water and fire damage, and are being housed by the Red Cross temporarily. Thankfully, no one was hurt, but Chandler was still desperately searching for Taffy. Nobody seemed to know what happened to the dog.
She decided to roam the streets to see if Taffy had escaped and gotten lost. Around 10 p.m. Sunday, she had Taffy in her arms again. A video posted by WAVY.com shows their tearful, emotional reunion.
“Oh my God, baby. I thought I lost you,” said Chandler in the video. “I lost everything, but I got my baby … I’ve been looking for my dog all morning, and I thought she got caught up in the fire, but I didn’t give up. I walked high and low for my dog.”
Spotting Taffy in the distance, Chandler dropped to her knees and called her dog. Taffy of course immediately ran into her mom’s arms.
“Thank you, God, for finding my dog,” said Chandler. “I might not have everything, but I do have my life. So I guess this is a new beginning for me.”
In November, a dog in Topeka who alerted residents to a house fire was found after going missing. Residents heard their dog Duke barking. When firefighters arrived, they were able to contain the fire and transport one of the occupants to the hospital for minor injuries. But Duke, a German shorthaired pointer, had gone missing. Crews stated that they had seen the dog just south of the home.
Stephanie Avila, a dog tracker who used her bloodhound to sniff down Duke, helped the department search for the dog and helped return him to his family.
In September, a family in Red Lion, Pennsylvania, was overjoyed to find their terrier Priscilla after a fire ripped through their home. She had been thought killed, according to her owner, Sheri McWilliams, but her implanted tracking chip was still giving off a signal. Days after, Priscilla was found and reunited with her family.