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GRIMES COUNTY Pet owners in Grimes County were grateful Tuesday to find shelter that was open to house four-legged fire evacuees.

Lucky and Connie Vander said they had to evacuate for the wildfire on Sunday. They live in the community of Stoneham near Navasota.

We only had five minutes to get out of there and we just had to take what we was wearing, Lucky Vander said. The dogs? We just had to leave them.

A day later, the Vander s got an offer from an emergency worker to go back into the evacuation zone.

So when the paramedic was nice and said, Do you want us to try and help you get your dogs? I was like, Yes, said Connie Vander.

The house on County Road 304 was still standing and the six dogs were inside, just waiting to be rescued.

We feel really blessed, and to see these dogs, said Connie Vander.

The Houston SPCA teamed up with the owner of the Navasota Livestock Auction Company to house the animals.

The Auction owner, Greg Goudeau, said he knows what it s like to go through a fire. His business burned two years ago.

You wouldn t believe the outpouring the community that came with the fire that we had and all the help that we had, said Goudeau. This is nothing compared to what they did for me.

Goudeau has passed that help to animal owners of all kinds. He has horses and cows in the back and companion animals in pens.

Connie Vander said she couldn t be more grateful.

I had to go to my job in a nightgown and shorts, but you know we re going to be OK, she said.

There was no word on how long the Houston SPCA was going to keep the shelter open.

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