Community comes together after dog rescue burns down

When Marc and Janna Preston purchased an old brick schoolhouse in the town of Nunn, Colorado, they both knew exactly what they wanted to do with their new home — turn it into a refuge for shelter dogs that were set to be euthanized.

For the Prestons, the schoolhouse was more than a home; it was an opportunity to give homeless dogs a chance.

“It’s old,” Marc Preston says of the building that, over the past two years, served as a safe haven for more than 200 foster dogs. “We bought it about three or four years ago, fixed it up [and] made it look pretty with lots of room for the dogs.”

But everything changed in an instant when, last Friday evening, the Preston’s home caught fire. The blaze started on the porch and quickly spread, engulfing the converted schoolhouse in flames.

With only moments to act as the flames swelled, Marc and Janna ran through the home, collecting their family and 11 dogs.

One by one, the Prestons carried each dog from the burning home. Neighbor Sue Frederickson pitched in, making sure that each dog was safe before securing them in Frederickson’s fenced yard, down the road from the blaze.

As the fire consumed the roof of what was once a happy home for human and canine, the Prestons checked on the dogs. But as they counted, they realized to their horror that only 10 were safe, that one dog, a 4-month-old black Labrador Retriever puppy named Reggae, was still in the burning house. The Prestons’ hearts sunk as they realized that, despite their best efforts to save their entire foster pack, poor Reggae might be lost forever.

Volunteer firefighters arrived and got to work putting out the inferno. Only a half an hour after the fire had started, the roof collapsed, taking most of the house with it. When the firefighters were able to finally extinguish the blaze, they searched the debris for any signs of Reggae. To everyone’s relief, the Lab pup was found alive. Rescuers gave the dog oxygen before rushing him to a veterinarian for treatment.

The Prestons have since changed Reggae’s name to something much more fitting—Lucky. The Retriever Rescue of Colorado has since taken Lucky in. He is currently available for adoption.

Though everyone on two and four legs survived the blaze, the Prestons’ home and possessions were all lost. But the community of Nunn banded together, bringing the family everything from diapers to dog food. Within a day of the fire, the town had planned a fundraiser for the Prestons and their dog rescue.

“Marc’s done a lot for the rescue community [and] for these dogs and it is only fitting that this situation is reversed for him now,” Nunn Chief of Police Joe Clingan said.

The Prestons plan to resume rescuing dogs in need as soon as possible.

“It puts a big smile on your face when you really save a dog,” Marc told NBC 9 News.

If you would like to help the Preston family, please consider donating to the collection fund set up in their name. Contact the Home State Bank at 3227 S. Timberline Road in Fort Collins, Colorado for more information.