When the car service scheduled to pick up Brook Lopez on Wednesday morning arrived, it collected two guests.
The first was Lopez. The second was Poupin, Lopez’s 10-year-old cat.
“I got a car service for my cat,” Lopez said.
With the Skirball fire threatening Lopez’s Bel Air Crest neighborhood, Lopez didn’t want to risk leaving his cat at home. So he rode with Poupin, who traveled inside a carrier, to the Lakers facility. Then he sent the car service on to Fresno, where his mother waited to collect Poupin.
“He got there safely, he got to my mom’s house,” Lopez said. “It was a bad day for him because he probably didn’t know what was going on, why he was in the carrier, then he had to go to the vet when he was in Fresno right away to get shots.”
The fires that have ravaged Southern California this week have inflicted unimaginable tragedy upon people and also animals. Horses have burned to death in multiple locations. Wildlife is fleeing. Police are working to save pets and animal welfare groups are imploring pet owners not to forget their four-legged family members.
Lopez needed no such urging. And he had the luxury of not asking how much it cost.
“My financial guy is going to be mad at me,” Lopez said. “I wasn’t fiscally responsible.”
Lopez figures Poupin was probably a bit confused and disoriented, but getting him out of his house was for the best. Though Lopez said his home has not been damaged to his knowledge, his neighborhood was on alert. As soon as the Lakers’ flight took off, Lopez began getting text messages from his agent and his mother letting him know his neighborhood had been evacuated.
Follow Tania Ganguli on Twitter @taniaganguli