"Dad, we're going to die," the 17-year-old screamed over the phone to his father.
Perez and his sister, Amy Chagoya, who has limited mobility, made it out of their Bastrop County home . But like many other evacuees, the family pets went missing in the chaos.
Chagoya cradled her beloved terrier-Chihuahua mix, Tigger, until heat from the fire got so hot that Chagoya, who suffered second- and third-degree burns to her arms, had to let go.
On Friday, Chagoya got Tigger back, and it was hard to tell who was more excited.
"He's Amy's baby," her mother, Julie Perez, said at the Austin Human Society's shelter, where dozens of recovered pets were taken to be treated for injuries and boarded. "Yup, that's him. He's making that noise."