Local pet shop helps out family fleeing Hurricane Irma

LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Robert Salvador, his wife and five children packed their car yesterday to head north to Michigan to stay with family before Hurricane Irma hits Florida.

But because they had to evacuate so abruptly, they didn’t have all the necessities for them or their pet reptile…but that quickly changed through an act of kindness.

“It was pretty bad, we were a little ahead of the game but even when we stopped, a lot of gas stations still didn’t have gas,” said Salvador.

For the past 18 years, Salvador has lived in Venice, Florida.

He says his family has dealt with the havoc of previous hurricanes but nothing compares to the anticipation of Hurricane Irma which is why they fled to Michigan.

“We kind of just wanted to beat the rush,” Salvador stated.

Salvador’s family left so quickly he says they didn’t bring the essentials for their bearded dragon “Chewbacca,” Chewy for short, who needs heat to survive.

So, Salvador’s brother who lives in Haslett, reached out on social media.

“My brother decided to post something on his Facebook page just to see if there was somebody out there so we can borrow a tank or what have you,” said Salvador.

And that’s where Preuss Pets comes in.

Rick Preuss, the owner of the exotic animal shop says his daughter saw the social media post and insisted they help.

“She and I both knew the immediate answer would be let’s set up an environment,” Preuss stated.

Until Salvador and his family head down south, Preuss is taking care of Chewy…giving him an aquarium, heat lamp and whatever essentials he needs.

“They don’t have to worry, they don’t have to be concerned, they can focus on what they want to do as a family but it was just so amazing how much love, admiration and connectedness within the family they had around this one lizard,” said Preuss.

It was this generous act of kindness that truly touched the hearts of the Salvador family.

“We’re very happy and he’s going to be in a luxury suite while we’re here,” Salvador stated.

Salvador says he plans to head back down to Florida next week but it all depends on the weather.

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