ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – All that’s left of the destructive Dog Head Fire are charred reminders of the devastation it left behind.
A dozen homes burned, 18,000 acres scorched, but no deaths were reported and nearly 100 horses were saved. But how was that possible when those who lived through it were racing against time?
As the Dog Head Fire grew and the fire line inched closer to homes in the Manzano Mountains, some had to leave at a moment’s notice, all the while trying to find how to get their horses out of the evacuation area. That’s where Ruth Andrews stepped in.
Andrews runs Walking N Circles Ranch, New Mexico Horse Rescue. A race against the clock, Andrews organized efforts to get more than 90 horses out and into safe temporary housing.
“The response was fantastic. We had people in the community offering to help us and all the East Mountains communities to trailer horses, to bring them to our facility or theirs to feed them until the disaster was over,” Andrews said.
One of those who stepped up was veterinarian Stacie Boswell.
“I just remember thinking how hard it must be for everybody that was being evacuated, and I remember being worried about my patients,” said Boswell.
Boswell says she was able to move some of her own horses to another part of her property, and was able to keep three horses and two donkeys during the evacuation.
“Several volunteers with their trucks and trailers literally drove right down to the mouth of the flames and pulled horses out and came back repeatedly, and they took care of all the costs taking care of those horses,” said Boswell.
“None of the evacuees were charged a dime,” said Andrews.
“There were more places than there were horses that needed to go, which was great,” said Boswell.
Andrews says most people who housed the horses kept them for about 10 days. One family even ended up adopting a horse when its owners could no longer care for it after the fire.
To learn more about Walking N Circles Ranch, click here.