BENTON CITY -- Linda Brown lost her home and virtually all of her possessions Saturday to a fire, but it wasn't a total loss.
While a dozen dogs are believed to have died in the inferno that flattened the doublewide home on West Yakitat Road, four other dogs have been recovered.
Brown said the four pets, which included three foster care dogs and one dog of her own, were treated Monday for smoke inhalation and smoke damage to their eyes at Columbia Veterinary Clinic in Pasco.
All four dogs are expected to recover, said Asia Burton, who works at the clinic.
John Achord, the veterinarian who owns the clinic, cared for the dogs, providing antibiotics and eye ointment, Burton said.
Brown picked up the dogs Monday morning and took them to the veterinarian. They apparently got out of the burning home before it was fully engulfed with flames. The remaining dogs died.
Capt. Dennis Bates of Benton Fire District 2 said firefighters found no signs of life when they arrived at the dwelling at 26004 Private Road 251, about six miles west of Benton City. Neighbors said they had to physically keep Brown from re-entering the burning home to rescue dogs still inside.
Some of the dogs were in foster care for Mikey's Chance, a canine rescue organization serving the Northwest, said Peggy Haecker of Kennewick, who works with the group.
Haecker said Brown was a longtime volunteer with Mikey's Chance.
Brown herself was being helped by other volunteers from rescue organizations from Spokane to Seattle, said Harriet Johnson, who runs an organization in the Tri-Cities called Prevent Homeless Pets.
On Monday, Johnson was chauffeuring Brown and the rescued dogs to and from the veterinary clinic.
Brown spent Saturday and Sunday nights at a friend's home but hoped to find another place soon where she can begin to settle in.
"The rescue community statewide has stepped forward with towels, supplies and money. We love Linda," Johnson said.
Brown, a retired nurse, said she has been doing foster care for dogs across the state since the 1970s.
"I came home to a fire," she said, her voice shaking from emotion two days later. "I tried (to save the dogs) but was unable."
Her final futile efforts were to open the two cages that had two dogs inside.
"But it was too late," Brown said.
The cause of the fire remains undetermined, but is not considered suspicious, said Joe Lusignan, Benton County sheriff's deputy.
Sheriff's Detective Lee Cantu and fire district officials spent Monday afternoon combing through the charred rubble at Brown's former rental home.
Lusignan said Cantu believes the fire started somewhere around the electric stove in the kitchen.
Brown said BJ, a 3-year-old Chinese crested powder puff, would be OK. The other surviving dogs -- two females named Sugar and Sunshine and a 4-year-old male called Teddy -- also were recovering. All of them are small dogs: mixed terriers, Chihuahuas or shih tzus.
Brown said she already has received calls about adopting the dogs. But she will continue to accept calls, both for helping the animals or for herself, to her cell number at 509-668-2648.
"The next battle is going to be to find a place of my own," Brown said.
-- John Trumbo: 582-1529; email@example.com