DRIPPING SPRINGS, Texas (KXAN) — This week, staff at the Paws Shelter of Central Texas evacuated around 55 dogs and cats from its facility because of a nearby fire. Staff needed to find space to temporarily house them with a neighboring kennel and foster homes.

The shelter’s general manager Leslie Hutson said the smoke could be seen from a short distance away but rapidly approached the shelter.

“We loaded up all 55 dogs and cats and got out of here as quickly as possible,” said Hutson.

While Hutson and her staff rushed to put all the shelter animals into carriers, she called Stay ‘N’ Play Pet Ranch’s business manager Lesley Pherigo to see if her boarding facility had open space for the displaced pets.

“I said, ‘sure, no problem. Bring as many dogs as you can.’ Shortly after that, she said, ‘we’re coming,'” said Pherigo.

Soon after, Hutson’s furry caravan arrived at Stay ‘N’ Play, about 14 miles away from the shelter.

The former owner of Stay ‘N’ Play, Charlotte Biggs, heard about the mad dash to safety and quickly drove to help unload the numerous animals.

“This was extremely meaningful because it could have been the difference of life or death,” said Biggs.

The pet ranch took in most of the shelter animals. Two dogs and one cat were taken into the care of Lone Star Animal Hospital next door to Stay ‘N’ Play for an illness that required quarantine. The rest of the overflow animals were taken home by fosters.

Hutson said the animals returned safe and unharmed to the shelter the next day. Also shared that she’s thankful her neighbors stepped up to offer help at a dire time.

“We’ve never experienced anything like this, so it was a shock, but thankfully everything turned out,” said Hutson.