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Wichita woman rescues dog, returns home to find house on fire

Updated: 2013-12-19T13:32:00Z

By Beccy Tanner

The Wichita Eagle

Jana Reeder set out along with several volunteers this weekend to capture an injured, frightened dog.

The dog had been struck by a car sometime last summer. Its leg was dragging, with the bone sticking out.

“We had tried and tried over the summer to rescue it,” Reeder said. “Nobody could get close enough to him. We knew he was injured.”

During the latest spell of freezing weather, the dog had taken refuge under a west Wichita homeowner’s deck.

“Once we got him, he was scared but sweet,” Reeder said. “He let us hold him.”

Reeder immediately took the dog to College Hill Animal Hospital, but as she was headed home from the rescue on Sunday, she received a phone call: Her house was on fire.

The fire started in the kitchen and gutted the roof. There was severe smoke damage, broken windows and water damage.

“I’d never seen anything like it,” she said. “When I pulled onto the block, there were six or seven huge firetrucks in front of my house.”

Reeder is a longtime dog rescuer, and her house in the 600 block of North Hampton Road, near Central and Woodlawn, has served as a foster home for dogs in transition. She lost almost all her house’s contents in the fire.

That’s one reason Curt Farington wants to help.

“She saved the dog but paid quite a price for doing it,” said Farington, president of the K-9 Karma Animal Advocates.

On Sunday, eight dogs were inside Reeder’s house. Two died as a result of the fire; one dog was resuscitated by firefighters. The rest escaped uninjured.

For now, Reeder said, she and her remaining dogs are staying with her sister. She hopes to move into a rental by this weekend. She said it may take as long as six months before her home is ready to be lived in again.

Farington said this week he is hoping to raise money on behalf of Reeder and the 1 1/2-year-old pit bull she rescued. K-9 Karma Advocates is providing her with dog food to feed the surviving dogs.

The injured dog’s leg will need to be amputated. Veterinary bills are estimated to exceed $2,000.

“Bless his little heart, he is full of worms and has a skin infection,” Reeder said. “We will get his leg amputated on Monday and are trying to get enough funds together to also get him neutered.”

Her plans, she said, are to foster the dog until a permanent home can be found.

“As far as his behavior, he is just frightened,” she said. “He does no snapping or growling. When he sees men, he squirms.

“With time and trust, he might get over that.”

Reeder said she is hoping to help make people more aware of rescue groups and the need for foster homes.

“These animals desperately need people to volunteer and help,” she said.

Reach Beccy Tanner at 316-268-6336 or btanner@wichitaeagle.com. Follow her on Twitter: @beccytanner.

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