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The Neighbor’s House Caught Fire

July 13, 2019

My pantsless roommate carried the next door neighbor’s beagle mix to my bedroom because Sailor was too timid to climb the stairs. Sailor and his sister, Olive, are staying with us because half their house caught fire last night.

Getting ejected into the strange and unexpected scenario of your own street filled with firetrucks whose job is to put out the fire next to your own bedroom window is, in a word, emotional. “What if” turns into “hell the fuck not” and clarity hits in spurts. My laptop became the most important thing to me. The dogs would naturally be tossed into a car and driven to safety; everything else can burn, baby, burn.

So now we have Sailor and Olive, and for good measure we’re also watching a friend’s dog this weekend. The guests plus the permanent residents brings our pooch count up to five and I’m as happy about it as you can imagine. Three of them slept with me last night. Some are wrestling on my living room floor as I type.

The fire is out and our house is unharmed. The neighbor’s is not. We sloshed through the remnants of the areas that were destroyed to help recover what we could. My fingernails are disgusting this morning.

Today’s agenda is to rest and occasionally force the dogs to stop playing long enough for everyone to take a rest. I need a shower. I have work this evening. I’m currently being licked.

Everybody loves excitement and we’re sure glad it wasn’t our house that burned, and we are all mortified at the loss. There’s a quiet, guilty thrill to being in the middle of things, even if they are terrible things. Understanding the gravity and seriousness of a situation meshes with adrenaline to make one feel a way I don’t have a word for. I think a lot of people, myself especially, like to feel important in times like these.

It was important to me that I was credited for jumping over the fence to snatch up the pups. That was my job. I wanted to be known as that hero. How silly is that? These people just lost everything in their bedroom – could you imagine? – and everything in the rest of the house received severe smoke damage, and I was making sure people knew I got the mutts out of the backyard. And here I am, talking about my heroism again, probably just fishing for more accolades. Liz Kurtz, dog rescuer.