Show dogs perish in Calumet Township house fire
By Carole Carlson email@example.com/648-3154 January 29, 2013 8:58PM
Kandi Sickles holds her dog Larry after she was reunited with the Chinese crested powder puff variety dog at Petsmart in Schererville, Ind. Tuesday January 29, 2013. Sickles lost a number of championship show dogs in a house fire Monday, and two escaped, including Larry. An employee of Petsmart found the dog and scanned his microchip. At right is friend Sandi Litke, also a Griffith Animal Control officer. | Stephanie Dowell~Sun-Times Media
How to help
Friends have set up a fund to assist Kandi Sickles, who lost most of her belongings in the fire.
Donations are being accepted at Centier Bank branches for the Kandi Sickles Benefit Fund.
Updated: March 2, 2013 7:18AM
CALUMET TOWNSHIP — Kandi Sickles hugged her dog Larry tightly Tuesday in a bittersweet reunion.
While Larry found his way back to Sickles, she mourned the loss of five other dogs that perished in a house fire Monday night.
Larry and two other purebred dogs, Woody and Paige, escaped during the fire. The other two were still on the loose Tuesday night.
Larry, a 2-year-old Chinese crested powder puff purebred, ran up to a young girl at Family Video in Griffith on Tuesday and someone took him to the PetSmart in Schererville. A microchip check led to a call to Sickles. Larry also got a free bath at PetSmart.
“The home’s a total loss,” Sickles said clutching Larry. “They said he was covered with briars so they gave him a bath,” she said of workers at PetSmart.
Sickles, 42, and a friend, Sandi Litke, who works at Griffith Animal Control, planned to spend the rest of Tuesday searching for Woody, a Chinese crested hairless, and Paige, a Shetland sheepdog.
They set traps for the dogs, hoping to catch them. They also plan to place posters around the neighborhood and hit social media sites.
“She’s devastated. Those are her babies,” said Sickles’ mother, Vee Gallagher, of Griffith, who owns the home in the 1600 block of Elm Street. She said Sickles left for a few hours Monday and that’s when the house caught fire. The cause of the fire is under investigation by the Lake Ridge Volunteer Fire Department.
Gazing at the charred white ranch home, Gallagher recalled fond memories of her daughter growing up in the home the family has owned for 44 years.
Gallagher surmised the blaze originated in the kitchen.
Of the five dogs lost, Gallagher said four were champion Shetland sheepdogs and one was a Chinese crested, also a show dog.
Mom and daughter also ran a dog grooming business in Griffith. Gallagher said her daughter works with animal rescue groups and was fostering a couple dogs at her home, as well.
Meanwhile, Larry snuggled with Sickles in Litke’s car outside PetSmart. “I just cried when I saw him,” Sickles said. “And he gave me kisses.”