5 min read

Mini Horse Escapes Wildfire In Backseat Of Car

“He went right in like a dog!”

Miniature horse Stardust typically has plenty of room to roam around his Northern California home, so it came as quite a shock when he suddenly had to squeeze into the back of a sedan.

Thankfully, carrots made for a tasty — and convincing — bribe.

Lauren Mesaros

On Monday, Lauren Mesaros, a registered nurse at University of California San Francisco (UCSF), got the call to evacuate when her Santa Rosa property was threatened by wildfire. With mere railroad tracks standing between her home and the Tubbs Fire, Mesaros knew she didn’t have long. But evacuating her pet horses, Gypsy, Connie and Stardust, proved difficult.

“She got her two mares in her trailer, but Stardust didn't fit,” Cindy Mesaros, Lauren’s sister-in-law, told The Dodo. With no other transportation available on such short notice, getting Stardust into Mesaros’ 2001 Honda Accord became a matter of life and death for the small horse.

Lauren Mesaros

With the help of neighbor Carol Spears’ "horse whisperer" powers, Lauren was able to lure Stardust into the back of her car with a carrot, Cindy Mesaros noted.

“He went right in like a dog!” she said.

Before driving off, another neighbor snapped a photo of the unhappy pony sitting in the car, and Cindy Mesaros posted it to her Facebook page.

Mesaros and her horses found safety at Windhorse Ranch in nearby Sebastopol, where they anxiously waited for the “all clear.”

While Mesaros’ home was spared by the fire, she was most grateful that everyone got out in time. “When a pet lover has to evacuate, they take what's most important to them,” Cindy Mesaros said, “and for all of us, that means our pets.”

The funny picture that was snapped in a time of crisis has since gone viral on Facebook, gaining thousands of views in just a few short days. Mesaros is glad “Stardust's photo is bringing smiles during such a hard time.”

Lauren Mesaros

The quick car trip did have one unfortunate outcome. “Lauren says her car is a mess now,” Cindy Mesaros noted. “Stardust did what horses do — in the back of her car.”

The photo’s social media attention has even reached the car’s maker, who has offered to help with the cleanup. “Honda responded to my social media post and they're sending something, and the local Honda dealer called about planning a fundraiser,” Mesaros added.

Stardust may be back at home now, but things have not quite returned to normal.

“Between us, fame is going to Stardust's head,” Cindy Mesaros added. “He's always been a bit of a stinker.”