It’s been a tough week for a lot of people — and also for many animals.

The week started off with a fire at Pet Paradise in Charlottesville. Seventy-five animals were rescued from the building.

Of those, one later was euthanized; the dog had a pre-existing heart condition. Ten were in critical condition immediately after the fire; their condition later was upgraded to stable.

Three animals escaped. One was found alive, one was found dead, and the third — a cat — is still missing as of this writing.

Amid this tragedy, many people have responded with courage and compassion.

Firefighters brought out every single pet that remained in the building, enduring not only the dangers of the fire but also the added burden of last Sunday’s oppressive heat. Neighbors who saw the fire rushed to help load the rescued animals into cars and police wagons. Veterinary offices mobilized to help with the injured. After it became known that three pets were missing, residents, owners and kennel staff again braved the heat to look for them.

Later in the week, another fire hit — literally; authorities say it was a lightning strike — this time at a private home in the Crozet area. County firefighters rescued two cats, but one of them was not breathing when brought out of the building. Firefighters revived her with water and oxygen, according to a Facebook post.

Certainly, the many pet owners in these two instances are grateful for the help of firefighters, friends, neighbors, strangers and veterinary staff.

So are we grateful. The surge of concern from the community shows just how caring we can be in an emergency.

But …

At midweek, a driver on U.S. 33 in Louisa County was seen throwing kittens out the window of his truck. The incident was reported, and animal control officers responded.

One kitten was found dead in the road; the other died on the way to the vet’s office.

The incident happened on Aug. 21 at about 12:40 p.m. The truck is described as an older model, small, primer gray in color. The driver was described as a white man.

Anyone with information, please call the Sheriff’s Office at (540) 967-1234.

Hopefully, the perpetrator can be brought to justice through the courts. If not, we hope karma takes a hand.

Nor were disasters limited to domestic animals. Additionally, there was a fish kill.

Hundreds of fish were found dead in Meadow Creek near the Meadow Creek Gardens disc golf course, a Charlottesville park. The creek runs through a portion of the park.

The park remains open, but as of this writing authorities are recommending that children and pets be kept away from the water, just in case.

City officials and the state Department of Environmental Quality are investigating.

If your pet is healthy and unharmed today, give him or her an extra hug.

If your affinities lean toward untamed nature, give thanks for whatever natural beauty surrounds you.

And, again, many thanks to those who worked so hard this week to mitigate these misfortunes.

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