When destructive wildfires like the Carr Fire descend upon homes in the dead of the night, families have little time to round up the kids, the family photos, the vital documents and the cats and dogs into the car to get to safety.
But what do you do for a stubborn goat?
One family from Keswick, the community northwest of Redding that was devastated in Thursday’s firestorm, had to leave their goat, Milkshake, behind. But it wasn’t for lack of trying.
Not only did the family of four children and two adults along with their four dogs not have room or resources to transport Milkshake, he was also not cooperating because he was afraid of the flames.
“He wasn’t having it,” said Mariz Brown, Milkshake’s owner.
With just minutes before their 5-acre property at Iron Mountain Road and Keswick Dam Road was engulfed in flames, Brown and her children left the area in one vehicle while her husband stayed behind to pack some belongings and their dogs into his pickup. Milkshake just wouldn’t budge, Brown said.
Brown’s husband left the water hose running, turned on the sprinklers and filled a small pool with water for Milkshake before escaping.
Brown has not been allowed to return home, but identified her pet on a live Facebook video from Sacramento Bee reporter Ryan Sabalow and videographer Hector Amezcua on Friday. She said her family’s property was almost completely destroyed, so she was surprised to see Milkshake during the live coverage of the aftermath of the fire.
Milkshake is now being cared for by the Shasta County Animal Shelter, which Brown says has been checking on animals displaced in the fire and keeping them healthy until families can return.
“We had all kinds of fruit trees and flowers all around the driveway leading up to the gate,” Brown said. “It’s all gone. You can’t even tell those were there.”
The family has been staying at nearby hotels and at a friend’s house since the evacuation, and Brown said they hope to reunite with Milkshake soon.
This story was also published in the print edition of The Sacramento Bee with the cover story on page 14A July 29, 2018.