TIVERTON, R.I. (WPRI) – The owner of a dog breeding and training business is trying to recover after a fire Thursday morning.
All 15 of the dogs that Aaron Valentino had at his Indian Hill Road home were pulled out of the fire, which started in the finished garage he uses as a kennel for his business Wicked Retrievers.
Police officers and firefighters were able to care for several of them at the scene using animal rescue masks that the fire department had aboard its trucks, but two of the dogs ultimately passed away.
Two other dogs remain with a local vet, where they are still struggling to breathe after inhaling smoke and carbon monoxide in the fire.
“It’s like a nightmare that I haven’t woken up from yet,” Valentino said Saturday morning.
Fire Chief Robert Lloyd told Eyewitness News that in his nearly 40 years as a firefighter, he had never had to deal with so many animals in one incident.
There were some bright spots, though: a litter of 4 week-old puppies was inside the main house, not the garage, and survived.
A friend of Valentino’s has set up a GoFundMe page to help cover some of the vet expenses, which have already exceeded $3,000 for just one day of care.