BUTTERFLY, Calif. (KFSN) — Close to 130 families have lost homes to the Oak Fire, but many more are in need of aid – whether it’s financial or emotional.
That’s where comfort dog Rome comes in.
From shootings to fires, Roma and her handler Lisa McCoy have spent the last three years bringing comfort to those impacted by tragedy.
Through HOPE Animal Assistance Crisis Response, they’ve been responding to both disaster zones and base camps.
“Seeing Roma and getting some unconditional love and attention is heartwarming for them. It’s helpful, it reminds them what they’re doing this for,” says McCoy.
“Crisis are dealt with by different people in different ways,” she adds.
The nonprofit is one of 32 agencies represented at the Local Assistance Center set up at Mariposa High School to aid victims of the Oak Fire.
The partnership between Mariposa County and the State Office of Emergency Services offers assistance ranging from emotional support to document recovery.
Health and human services director Joe Lynch says, “We have just shy of 130 homes lost and if you think about those families trying to reach out to the DMV and insurance companies, it would be completely overwhelming.”
While the Mariposa Strong community is resilient, services aren’t just for those who lost their homes.
Lynch says, “We’ve had three major fires in the last couple years. We had Detwiler, Ferguson and now the Oak Fire and what we’ve learned is people think is I’ve got it bad but someone’s got it worse so I ‘m going to leave it for them and the message we’re trying to get out is there’s plenty for every one.”
Only 16 of the 86 families that lost their homes in the Detwiler stayed to rebuild.
So far, 30 Project Room Key trailers have been donated by surrounding counties, including Santa Clara and Imperial.
The idea is to give homeowners who lost everything a step up because the road to rebuild is a long one.
The Local Assistance Center is expanding its services for another day.
It’ll be open again on Thursday starting at 9 am.
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