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Lytton residents go rogue to rescue dogs and livestock

The reunion was bittersweet.

A Lytton woman has managed to rescue the pets she was forced to leave behind when she and her partner fled the wildfire that razed her community.

Tricia Thorpe and her husband Don Glasgow defied orders to stay out of the area and went past roadblocks on Monday to get to their property, just across the bridge from Lytton. The farm she lived on was flattened, but miraculously, most of her dogs, including nine puppies, survived the inferno.

But it was a bittersweet reunion.

“The parents and grandparents [of the puppies] did an amazing job. We lost the grandfather; I don’t know when he passed. We couldn’t find him, and the father passed away on our way back to Kamloops. He held on until we got there,” said Thorpe.

Thunder was only one-and-a-half years old.

They also rescued what remains of their livestock: five sheep and four alpaca. Even their 13-year-old cat Simba somehow managed to make it through. The rest of the sheep, their goats, chickens and other birds are believed to have perished in the fire.

The dogs were taken to the SPCA in Kamloops until the couple could find a place to move them. The livestock is being taken care of by a rescue organization.

Thorpe was very grateful to those who helped her get to her property and understands they might get in trouble because of it.

“In my opinion, I put the police and security kind of between a rock and a hard place, because they have official rules they have to follow, and then there’s humanity and compassion, and like I told them, it had been five days,” she said.

The fate of the puppies had been previously unknown until BC Wildfire crews reached the property over the weekend to check on them, leaving out food and water. The provincial government, however, has strictly controlled access to the burned townsite because of safety concerns.

Thorpe is upset that animal rescue volunteers can’t get in to help other families, yet railway crews are in the village. “They’re expecting the trains are going to be up and running very shortly, if they’re not already.”

“I was really lucky to be able to do what I did, and what I did was not right. It put people in a difficult situation. I was desperate,” added Thorpe.

The Thompson-Nicola Regional District has said it is working to offer residents of Lytton the opportunity to tour the area by bus, but no timeline has been announced.