Good samaritans work to save animals

January 2, 2009 4:06:30 PM PST
It was business as usual Friday at Buckley Tavern in Centreville, Delaware. But, Thursday night, it became a temporary shelter for dozens of animals rescued from a nearby veterinary hospital that had caught fire.

Dozens of dogs, cats and birds were evacuated.

"Buckley's was just a life-saver, it was below freezing temperatures and if we had been out in the parking lot with those 25 animals, it would have been unreal, it would have been very uncomfortable," said Laura Nilsen of Chadds Ford, Pa.

Nilsen was one of three friends who were passing by after a shopping trip, who noticed heavy smoke coming from the hospital.

They pulled over and quickly discovered a hospital technician in dire straights with a full house of animals.

"She asked us, 'Will you help save the animals?" said Lori Diamanty of Wilmington, Delaware. "I asked if the dogs were going to bite me, and she said 'no.' So, we started to go in, all of us, and start taking animals out one-by-one."

Laura Greeley was the third member of the passer-by rescue party who inhaled so much smoke, she had to be treated at the scene.

"We just started running in and grabbing as many animals as we could and we were holding as many in our hands as we could, ran to Buckley's and asked for their help," Greeley said.

The crowd at Buckley's quickly got involved, cordoning off a section of the popular eatery and landmark. Bar patrons tied the animals' leashes to the bar stools and worked to keep them calm.

"Cooks, dishwashers, everyone got involved," said Michelle Kolasinksi of Buckley's Tavern.

"Everybody here was helping, it was quite an event," said Christie George of Buckley's Tavern.

All the animals survived and no one was seriously injured.