EASTLAND, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – The ripple effect from the devastating fires continues to hit residents of Eastland County as families search for lost pets that fled during the evacuations.

Carol and Louis Stephens of Eastland moved just off of Highway 6 just over a year ago from Lubbock, bringing with them their two pappillons, Bella and Coco.

However, the Stephens family had no idea when they purchased their home that they would be receiving a complimentary blue heeler named Cheyenne with it.

Cheyenne looking inside. Courtesy of Carol Stephens.

A herding dog, Cheyenne was lovable and social, all she wanted was to be petted, the Stephenses said.

She quickly won over the Stephenses, becoming family within days of their first meeting. Carol said she was also one whistle away, going to check on the neighbors daily and playing with the cattle in the pasture to the west.

However, as fires engulfed those pastures and inched closer to the Stephens’ homestead, Cheyenne was nowhere to be found. Louis and Carol gathered Bella and Coco, evacuating their home, leaving without the third member of their home.

Now, a week later, Cheyenne still has not returned home. When asked how badly they miss her, the Stephens were left speechless.

“It’s a lot of despair. It’s hard to keep the faith that she’s going to come home, and every day it gets harder,” Carol said.

While it’s hard for the Stephenses to not have Cheyenne home now, they are still confident she will find her way home soon.

“I’m not giving up on her,” Carol said. “I know she’s out there. I know she’s coming home.”

Unfortunately, many Eastland County families are in the same boat, missing a loved one almost a full week after fires ripped through their communities.

As the days have gone by, Eastland animal shelters and veterinary clinics have received lost pets from the fires, injured or lost. Much like animal shelters in Abilene, they are overflowing with animals, too.

“I don’t even think the people down there can give you a count today as to exactly how many they have,” Abilene SPCA’s Paul Washburn said. “They have them coming in all the time.” 

Not only are the animal shelters struggling to find space for all of the lost animals, they are also struggling to feed and care for the new additions.

The Abilene SPCA is partnering with Jackson Bros Feed and Seed to help donate bags of pet food to feed all of the animals in the shelters.

Washburn said they have donated several hundred pounds of food over the past two days and are looking to continue transporting food over the next few days, as well.

If you’d like to help with food donations, Washburn said you can bring any bag of dog or cat food to either Jackson Bros location in Abilene and they will have it shipped to Eastland County. He also said you can purchase a bag of food in store to be donated, just mention the donation at checkout.

If you are missing your pet and live in the Eastland/Carbon/Gorman area, you can find updated pictures of all the pets brought in to the Eastland Animal Shelter on their Facebook page.

The Eastland Animal Shelter is located at 525 Lens Street in Eastland and are available by phone call at 254-629-1700, extension 2.