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‘You could smell the smoke off him when you came in the shelter door’

It’s been almost a month since the Woodville home of Dr. George Scott caught fire. That Monday morning, crews from all Rappahannock volunteer fire stations plus Culpeper battled the flames, but much of the home burned to the ground. 

Dr. Scott was wheelchair bound. Fortunately, his caretaker, Faye, was able to get him out of the house.

But Dr. Scott, being a retired veterinarian, owned six pets, and they were all inside. Faye ran back into the house and was able to find his dog and two of his five cats. It was too dangerous to keep looking for the others. The dog went to stay with another caregiver; both cats ran away.

Coincidentally, one of Dr. Scott’s caregivers had two relatives who worked with RappCats shelter in Flint Hill. By the next day, search and rescue operations were underway. Carolyn Yowell, and her niece Lesley Jenkins brought out traps and walked the property until after dark.

“I coulda sworn I heard meowing, but I just couldn’t find any cats,” said Lesley. “But we weren’t about to give up that easy”.

Firefighters had doused the fire with both water and chemical spray. Ashes and white foam covered the charred remains.

“The bedroom was still smoking, and the bed and floor were covered with ash,” said Carolyn. “I didn’t see how any animals could have survived in here, but Lesley had to check”.

It’s good she did.


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There, on a chair whose upholstery had burned away, sat “Oreo,” a tuxedo cat. He seemed stunned, and didn’t resist when Lesley gently picked him up. He was taken to RappCats and bedded down for the night. 

“You could smell the smoke off him when you came in the shelter door,” said Carolyn.

“He was a sweetie, but boy did he stink. And his paws were filthy with ash”.

Volunteers kept putting out traps and calling for the other cats. It paid off.  

“Mama” cat was found in a trap the next day, and her daughter “Squeaky” showed up in a trap the day after.  Because the shelter was full with other new rescues at that point, volunteer staff fostered them until space opened up a week later.

Sadly, the last two cats never showed up and there have been no signs of them. 

We all expected that the three rescued cats would have to be separated, but then RappCats got a call from Sandy and Burny Trueworthy, who lived about less than a mile from the fire. Sandy wanted to adopt all three cats, and said it would be an adventure. Burny wasn’t so sure.

Lesley said, “Listen. There are three cats. There are three syllables in the word ‘adventure.’ And there are 3 syllables in the word ‘miracle.’ So, what do you think?’”

Well, she had Burny on that. 

“Good point,” he said. “Come on, Oreo. Join the gals.”