‘Part of the family’: Chilean wildfire victims hold out hope for lost pets

In the aftermath of devastating wildfires in Chile, the coastal city of Viña del Mar becomes a hub of community support for both human and animal survivors. At Libertador Bernardo O’Higgins school, converted into a makeshift clinic, Felipe Gajardo anxiously waits for news about his missing cat Max, while Margarita Herrera seeks help for her bulldog Nitro’s eye infection. Despite limited resources, organizations like the Humane Society International provide crucial aid, recognizing the profound bond between people and their pets. With Chile’s strong culture of pet ownership, the impact of the fires on animals is significant, though the exact toll remains uncertain. As communities grapple with loss and uncertainty, individuals like Gajardo and Herrera cling to hope, determined to reunite with their beloved companions amidst the chaos.

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