We covered Gumbo’s story on September 25, in Hero Pig Leads Family to Injured Cat After Fire. The three alarm fire that destroyed a large Bedford, NH horse barn on September 6, with great loss of life, was a big story in New Hampshire and the Boston media market. Perry Hill Farm is owned by Harriet Finks and her daughter Elissa Finks.The 10,000 square foot barn was destroyed and only 8 out of 22 horses survived. Those 8 were led out of the building but the others panicked and could not be saved. The women thought they had lost their cats, but a pair of pet goats and the farm’s 1,000 pound mascot Miss Colby the pig survived.
Gumbo is one of the cats who were missing and presumed dead. Three days after the fire, Miss Colby, straying from her usual rounds, sniffed him out on the property and led his grateful family to him. Gumbo suffered second degree burns and, after a short period at home, went to Andover Animal Hospital, in Andover, MA for the care needed for his recovery. A second cat named Gidget was found under less dramatic circumstances 13 days after the fire. Gidget’s burns were less severe.
After weeks of veterinary care, Gumbo went home again on Saturday when Harriet and Elissa Finks drove to Andover to pick him up. He is still recovering, but is greatly improved. Gumbo’s severely burned paws required careful daily attention while he was in the hospital, and it was initially thought that he might lose his tail. Gumbo came home wearing a cone, but that is to keep him from fussing with his last remaining sore, on a hind leg, and to stop him from biting his tail, which was saved.
Andover Animal Hospital Vet tech Kristen Ingersoll spoke to a Lawrence Eagle Tribune reporter the day of the reunion, with a purring Gumbo and his petmom Harriet on hand. The Tribune has more on Gumbo and his homecoming HERE.
The video below retells the story of his rescue and shows Gumbo back at home.
The Perry Hill Farm Fire Fund Facebook page remains active with updates and as a place for community grieving and healing. funds are being raised to help with Gumbo’s $4,000 vet bill and the enormous cleanup costs from the fire.
Andover Animal Hospital is accepting funds to help with Gumbo’s recovery. The hospital is located at 233 Lowell St., Andover MA 01810, where checks to The Shadow Fund can be mailed. The hospital can be reached at 978-475-3600 or [email protected]