Sometimes it takes a lot to reunite a lost pet with their owner. A few days ago, I wrote about Jessica Namath, who had her dog returned to her almost randomly, five years after he wandered away from her home in Florida.
For Shiree Hicks, finding her dog didn’t take five years, but it did take a tragedy. According to Houston station KHOU, Hicks was reunited with her dog Jingles when her neighbors’ house burned down.
The fire at Rolondo Perez’s house in North Houston was spotted by two neighbors, Bob Johnson and Amando Delatorre, at about 11:30 AM yesterday. The two men grabbed water hoses, broke the windows, and tried to contain the fire until professional firefighters could make it to the scene.
That was when they spotted Perez’s father inside. He had been alone in the house, sleeping, so Johnson and Delatorre had to kick the door in to get him out before the smoke overwhelmed him. “The guy just walked out. I guess he couldn’t find his way until we opened the doors and the guy just walked out,” Delatorre told reporters. The two of them helped Perez out, along with three dogs that were also in the house.
Such a dramatic rescue would be a story in and of itself, but it turned out that was just the beginning.
The Houston Fire Department arrived to put out the fire, and gave minor first aid to the men and the dogs, who were having trouble breathing. And that’s when Shiree Hicks came along and recognized one of those three dogs as Jingles. “And I looked over to see if everyone was okay and I saw Jingles,” she said. “I just moved over here. I had her and she was caged in the back. She squeezed through the fence and got away and I had never seen her anymore.”
According to Rolondo Perez, they had found Jingles after her escape from the backyard, and didn’t know who she belonged to. “We just kept her,” Perez said. “We were waiting to see if someone would come looking for her and no one ever came so we just kept her.” In the news report, Hicks seems delighted to be reunited with Jingles.
In the wake of what’s no doubt a huge trauma for Rolondo Perez and his father, it seems tacky and even cruel to look at his explanation skeptically, but to my brain, it feels like a scab that I just have to pick. It seems strange that, upon finding a lost dog, someone would just wait for the owner to show up, at least if they really wanted to get the dog back to its home. The fact that Perez and Hicks lived within walking distance of each other makes it feel even stranger.
But anomalies in the story aside, Hicks and Jingles seem very happy to be back together. Congratulations to them, and our condolences to the Perez family.
Top image: View of House fire by Shutterstock.