Now I Know: The Accidental Pet Feeding Hero of 2016

"Hero" really isn't the right word here -- while this guy likely saved a lot of pets, he put people at risk. It's a hard story to tell because of this tension, so I hope I did a reasonable job striking a balance. -- Dan

The Accidental Pet Feeding Hero of 2016

Fort McMurray is a small Canadian city in the northeastern corner of Alberta. (Here's a map.) Today, it's home to about 65,000 people, but for most of May 2016, it was home to virtually no one. On May 1st of that year, a fire broke out in the woodlands neighboring the city, and the dry, hot weather at the time made it impossible to keep the fire under control. At first, the city issued a limited evacuation order for some of its neighborhoods, but the fire crept away, and on May 2nd, authorities revised the edict -- residents were advised to shelter in place. Unfortunately, the next day brought bad news. At 5 PM local time on May 3rd, the city reinstituted the evacuation order and expanded it to cover more neighborhoods, and less than two hours later, they expanded it again to cover the entire city. Everyone had to leave, and quickly.

But not everyone did. And while his decision put his own life at risk, it may have saved some of his neighbor's friends.

Lee Ellis was a construction manager working on a site about an hour north of Fort McMurray when the evacuation order came down. While he should have stayed away, he decided to come back home to grab some of his belongings. On his trip back home, though, he saw the chaos as virtually everyone fled. So instead of just grabbing some of his stuff and going, Ellis made another questionable decision -- he decided to just kind of hang out and wait for traffic to abate.

While hanging out at home as the world burned around him, Ellis likely checked in with some friends. One of those friends had also been north of the city but, unlike Ellis, didn't go back home. That friend also had a cat, and the next day, asked Ellis to swing by to feed his pet. Ellis, still ignoring the evacuation order, obliged -- and then some. As he told CBC News, "I went to his house, fed and watered his cat, and then on the way back I heard some dogs barking in a backyard. So I went and knocked on the house. No one was there, so I proceeded to take those three dogs and I brought them to my house."

Wildfires. An ignored evacuation order. And now, three dogs and a cat. Sensing the elements of a great Facebook post brewing, Ellis shared the details of his mini-adventure to his network of friends online. Word spread around town that someone was still in Fort McMurray and taking in pets, and before the day was out, dozens of people were asking Ellis to check in on their pets, too. So, he did. For the next four days, residents of Fort McMurray sent him their alarm codes, where they kept their pet food, and the names of their pets. Ellis, who was soon joined by a couple of other non-evacuees, hopped on bicycles (instead of cars, "to avoid being found and kicked out of the city," per CBC News) and made sure the pets were fed. He posted his results on Facebook, with photos, and was showered with thank you notes from those who had to leave their fur babies behind.

On day four, though, a new problem appeared -- all of that bike riding, in Ellis' words, resulted in "bruises on our butts." They decided to chance discovery by using a car instead and were quickly found. The police detained them and brought them to a shelter for evacuees, ending their spree of pet feedings.  

It's unclear, though, if Ellis ultimately saved many pets. The evacuation of Fort McMurray did not end until June 1st, and more than 3,000 buildings were destroyed during the month of fires. While some first responders were likely able to get some of the pets, it's likely that many other animals did not make it out. And Ellis put himself and those same rescue workers at risk by remaining in the area. But for some pet owners, he's their hero.
Sip 96-point rated wine — in a can. 

Maker serves up award-winning wine from the nation's best small producers, in the perfect single-serving pour. All Maker wines are dry, with 0g sugar and <5 carbs per serving. 

And yes, actually good wine can come in cans! Maker is the highest-rated canned wine on the market today, with 3 wines rated 90+ points by Wine Enthusiast, 15 Gold medals, and features in publications like Forbes, Food 52 Wine Spectator, and Vinepair. Try the wines

Bonus fact: If you're going to Disney World, congrats! You're likely going on a vacation you and your family will remember for a lifetime. Unfortunately for animal lovers, pets aren't allowed at their theme parks.  (Service animals are, of course.) But in recent years, Disney has piloted a solution: a program that lets you bring your dogs to the hotel with you. As part of their "Best Friends Pet Care" program, some Disney hotels let you bring two dogs per guest bedroom with you (provided they are "well-behaved, leashed in public areas and properly vaccinated"). And when you go to the theme park, the dogs can go to a special program that features a 25,000 square-foot dog park and "75 highly trained pet care providers" to guide their day. 

From the Archives: Why Cat Owners in Siberia Really Need to Pay Their Taxes: Really. 
Like today's Now I Know? Share it with a friend -- just forward this email along.
And if someone forwarded this to you, consider signing up! Just click here.
Share Share
Tweet Tweet
Forward Forward
Archives · Privacy Policy

Copyright © 2021 Now I Know LLC, All rights reserved.
You opted in, at via a contest, giveaway, or the like -- or you wouldn't get this email.

Now I Know is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Some images above via Wikipedia.

Now I Know's mailing address is:
Now I Know LLC
P.O. Box 536
Mt. Kisco, NY 10549-9998

Add us to your address book

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your email address or unsubscribe from this list

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp

Key phrases

Older messages

Now I Know: The Unforgiving Tyranny of the Red Pen

Monday, October 25, 2021

Red red ink you make me feel like stink, that's not a good rhyme but I'm low on time View this email in your browser · Missed one? Visit the Archives This is a re-run from 2016. Enjoy! -- Dan

Now I Know: The Non-Profit That Gives Drivers Sticker Shock

Monday, October 25, 2021

A bad idea meets a bad idea, but makes for funny YouTube videos View this email in your browser · Missed one? Visit the Archives Sorry if this hit your inbox a bit late today; had some weird tech

Now I Know: An Actual Week in Review

Monday, October 25, 2021

It's the Now I Know Weekender! View this email in your browser · Missed an issue? Click here! An Actual Week in Review Hi! As long-time readers know, on Fridays — like, you know, today — I do a

Late Night Vibes: Acela Edition

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

It was light when we went down into the subway, but by the time we re-emerge on the Acela in Queens, it may as well be midnight. ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌

Halloween Poems and more

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Support October 26, 2021 Poems for Halloween Celebrate Halloween this weekend with these poems from “The Vampire” by Delmira Agustini “Ghosts and Fashion” by Elaine Equi “Migration

Win the Ultimate Tailgate Package from Now I Know

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

good luck and may the force be with you View this email in your browser Archives · Privacy Policy Hi again! As I forgot to mention this morning, here's an email about a sweepstakes you can enter! I

Good Morfternight Reader! – Wednesday, November 24th, 2021

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Issue 10: Quiet, Flywheel effects, Jim Collins, Version Control, and Leadership. View this in your browser. issue 010 2021-12-01 Morfternight by Paolo Belcastro 👋 Hello Reader! Welcome to the 10th

Another sample from the archives

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

The Strategy Toolkit - from the July 2020 edition ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌

Let's keep it up! day #36

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Continuing our streak! 💪 ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌

Positive Accidents

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

On positive accidents, tackling life debt and powerful levers we can utilize. View in browser Positive Accidents Hi everyone, Happy belated Thanksgiving! Hope all of you enjoyed the festive cheer. This

How To Write Philosophy with Dr. Pamela Hieronymi

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

The “consulting philosopher” on The Good Place shares her process for thinking and writing ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌

Now I Know: Give Me Liberty or Give Me Triple Sevens

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

I just watched Ghostbuster 2 last weekend and really want to make a joke about it here, but I think it'd be lost on most of you. View this email in your browser · Missed one? Visit the Archives Hi!

Hurricane Larry

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

A short one this week. I wrote this in September right after Hurricane Larry. I spent the morning trying to trim and re-write it into a spot where it felt OK to share. Here it is. I spent a chunk hours

Apple Podcasts publishes the best of 2021

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

The company earning more from podcasts than Google paid search; and iVoox adds more exclusives 4.5 mins to read · Your daily briefing for podcasting and on-demand, with 20952 subscribers; issue #1178 ·

[Live Webinar] Structure your L&D team for ultimate success in 2022

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Hello , 2021 was all about keeping our heads above the water. From moving training from in-person to online to onboarding new hires remotely, L&D teams had to make snap decisions and do their best