Harrah Animal Rescue Works To Rebuild After Devastating Fire

Sunday, March 13th 2011, 11:19 pm
By: News 9

Jon Jordan, News 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- A Harrah animal rescue group will now begin the rebuilding process after a grassfire reduced the group's facility to ashes on Friday.

Rescuing abandoned and neglected animals has been Vickie Optiz life's mission. So much so, she started her own organization, OK Adopt A Dog in Harrah nearly 5 years ago.

Never did she imagine that her years of hard work would be left to rubble in a matter of only a few seconds. 

"It's just a sickening sinking feeling to see the devastation a fire can do," Optiz said.

Her animals and her property were in the direct path of a wildfire that ripped through a section of Harrah, destroying 39 homes and much of Optiz's life's work.

"We had just purchased a brand new refrigerator for all the dog medicine and it burnt to the ground," Optiz said.

The medicine was being stored in her 900 square foot storage facility.

"The heart beat of her operation is gone, the dog food, everything," said longtime friend and volunteer Angie Day.

"All the dog supplies, dog food, dog blankets, leashes, collars, medicines, and washer and dryers for all the beddings [were in the storage facility]," Optiz said.

Unable to save the storage facility, Optiz was able to save what mattered most, her animals.

"I still don't know how we did it," Optiz said.

In a mad dash Optiz along with her son began rounding up the animals.

"We ran around and started taking dogs out of pens, putting them in crates and getting them on trailers so we could get them out of here, and when we realized the fire was right on top of us, we ran back and started opening up pens and letting [the rest] free," Optiz said.

Optiz left not knowing if half of her animals would survive the fast moving wildfire. Fortunately, she said animals rescuers from Midwest City were able to find most of them, the rest of her animals were able to find their way back home. Unfortunately, Optiz lost one of her three horses.

"Just to know he wasn't able to get out of the smoke and flames is terrible. It's a terrible, terrible thought," Optiz said.

Three days after the fire, Optiz said the tragedy of what she lost has started to sink in.

"It's just starting to set in and we came up here to look around and it's amazing what fire can do," Optiz said.

Optiz said OK Adopt A Dog is in need of monetary donations. A fund has been set up at First National Bank under the name "OK Adopt a Dog." You can also make a donation through their PayPal account set up on their website.

More: Harrah Grassfire Devastates Animal Shelter