Patti Meyer, 52, was dragged from her Kenwood home as the Northern California wildfires were heading towards it in 68 mph winds. She told the firefighters her dogs were still inside the home. After Meyer was taken to safety at the St. Francis Winery in Sonoma, firefighters returned for the dogs, but the house was burned to the ground.

In total, Meyer lost eight adult Bernese Mountain Dogs and four of their puppies, along with two miniature dachshunds.

Emergency evacuation sees dogs left behind

As Meyer was taken from her ranch house in Kenwood on Sunday night, she screamed at the firefighters that her dogs were still inside.

Once she had been taken to safety at the St. Francis Winery by a sheriff’s vehicle, she called her former fiancé, Sean Mallary in Forestville, some 20 miles away.

Mallary told SFGate that Meyer was hysterical and was screaming that she had been evacuated from her home, while her dogs were still inside. Mallary said he immediately jumped into his van and drove to the house, but on arrival, Meyer’s home had been burned right down to its foundation.

On returning the following day, Mallary said he went through the ashes, and all the dogs had died. Most of the dogs had been sleeping in Meyer’s bedroom, while one Bernese mountain dog was next door with her four-week-old puppies, in the guest room of the house.

Firefighter cried over not being able to save the dogs

Mallary said he was approached by a firefighter, who broke into tears as he explained he knew the dogs were in the home, but his priority was to get Meyer out safely as things were happening very fast. He said it was five minutes later that he returned for the dogs, but the home was already engulfed in flames, and there was no way he could enter.

Mallary said he shook the firefighter’s hand because he had most likely saved Meyer’s life, as she apparently “sleeps like the dead.”

Meyer was previously a veterinary tech, and her hobby is to breed Bernese mountain dogs. She explained that it was devastating to lose them, saying they were like her children. She wasn’t worried about anything else in the home and all she had wanted was for her animals to have left the home safely.

It turns out she also lost two pigs and a rabbit in the fire, but three horses and a steer that were on the property survived.

Vets and animal workers deployed to Sonoma County

As reported by Vin News Service, dozens of veterinarians, healthcare workers and animal rescuers are heading to social media to share their experiences during the wildfires and to offer support. A Facebook page has been set up in an attempt to connect abandoned and stray pets with their owners.

Veterinarians and technicians have been deployed in Sonoma County Wednesday by the California Veterinary Medical Reserve Corps to assist with evacuations and to care for injured animals.