Marshall Fire | Boulder Veterinary Hospital

Jan 10, 2022

Marshall Fire | Boulder Veterinary Hospital |

The Marshall Fire on Dec 30th was both devastating and completely unexpected.  Here in Colorado, we are unfortunately accustomed to a summer fire season.  However, a fire of this magnitude seems to be something that happens only in the mountains, not a heavily urbanized area in the middle of winter.

That same day in north Boulder, my neighborhood had our own fire break out – the Middle Fork Fire.  My family was out of town that day, but I was still downtown.  When my wife called me and said we were in the evacuation area, it seemed to make no sense.  I didn’t receive a reverse 911 call and I’d been home one hour prior.  Still, I rushed back and found Highway 36 North blocked a half mile before my road.  The fire fighters let me through, instructing me to grab my things and head out.

Like most people, priority number-one was my animals.  We have horses, and it was no small task to get them loaded with 100+ mile per hour wind.  My dogs were with my wife, but I gathered the guinea pig and parakeet.  My cats go outdoors, and they were nowhere to be found.  Collecting the chickens wasn’t an option.  By the time these tasks were complete, along with grabbing some important documents, our firefighter neighbor texted and said they were getting things contained.  After several hours, it turned out I didn’t have to leave.

I mention my experience because I can only imagine what those in Marshall Fire evacuation areas dealt with.  The speed with which it developed, the size of the fire, the missed reverse 911 calls, the traffic jams, the desperate attempt to get home which for many was unsuccessful.  The knowing that their beloved animals were trapped in their home, and that their home may be gone.  Just empty, utter despair and hopelessness.

The damage still seems unreal.  Homes will eventually be rebuilt, but there is so much that can never be replaced, first and foremost the lives both human and animals.  We invite so much vulnerability into our lives when we place an animal under our care.  At the onset we know our time together is finite.  But you hope to have some time to prepare for their passing.  You hope to help them live a full, healthy life.  Something like this fire isn’t on the radar.  There are so many “if only-s” that will never come to pass.  And it is human nature to take responsibility for their loss, even though that isn’t remotely fair.

Our hearts at Rise Vet go out to all those affected by the fire.  Horrible events like this leave a deep and permanent scar, though they are also strangely positive in that they bring a community together.  They remind us that our neighbors, friends, and family are here to lean on one another and help each other heal.  Most importantly, they remind us of our capacity to love.  That’s what caring for an animal is all about.

Marshall Fire | Boulder Veterinary Hospital | Rise Vet is Boulder’s new breed of veterinary care located in downtown Boulder.  Call us today to make an appointment for your pet.  We are located in the Ideal Market Plaza, right next to Sweet Cow Ice cream and are excited to open our doors to you and your pets.  We serve pet lovers in Boulder, Longmont, Louisville, Superior and surrounding Boulder County.