CALIFORNIA – A Montecito family whose home was literally obliterated in the mudslides that left at least 20 people dead had a tearful reunion with their beloved cat after rescuers found the feline amid the rubble.
Santa Barbara County Animal Services uploaded a video on Facebook of the couple hugging and stroking their cat, Koshka, as they tearfully thanked the emergency officials who saved her.
“Thank you so much. We needed something like this to happen for our family. The house is…” Lindsey Thompson stated as her voice dissolved into sobs.
“Our house has been completely destroyed,” her husband, Woody stated. “But we’re safe.”
Woody then said they never lost faith that Koshka was alive, even though they lost everything else.
“We knew that she was alive and we knew that she was smart and she would find a safe spot to be and she did,” he stated.
According to Santa Barbara County Animal Services, the Thompsons were not quite certain that they would survive the powerful mudslide that took their home. The couple had actually left goodbye messages for each other in case one of them did not make it.
They were then airlifted out of the inaccessible rubble of their residence on Oak Grove Road by rescue teams.
The couple decided to reach out to the animal services department for help finding Koshka as soon as they were safe, but employees of the department could not safely access their property.
“We consulted with a nearby fire team who was unable to see Koshka but could see her muddy paw prints which gave us hope,” the department stated in a Facebook post.
When it finally became safe, Santa Barbara County Animal Services teams then took up the search and had been checking the Thompsons’ property daily since Jan. 9 for any sign at all of Koshka.
Monday, their search finally and happily came to an end.
“Today, our Officer Pennon and his partner Lauren from the ASPCA were able to get close enough to the property and felt it was safe to access a window,” the department stated on Facebook. “They found Koshka with mud caked fur, and she was thankful to see her rescuers.”
“They called her the ‘pawprint kitty’ and she lived, and I just can’t thank you enough. We needed this. Thank you. You’re our heroes,” Lindsey concluded.
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