Many people are struggling to find new homes after the Marshall Fire that burned more than 6,000 acres and nearly 1,000 structures last week displaced them and their furry loved ones. During and after the tragic wildfire, the Humane Society of Boulder Valley, or HSBV, became the center for pet rescues and temporary boarding.
“HSBV opened up our doors to help people evacuating with their pets and needed a place to board their animals free of cost while they tried to find someplace to stay,” said HSBV CEO Jan McHugh-Smith.
Staff quickly busied themselves making space to help out evacuees when the fires broke out, she said. HSBV took in around 50 animals during that time, either brought in by their owners or Boulder County Animal Control.
“Companion animals are part of our family, so seeing those animals get reunited with their guardians was really heartwarming,” McHugh-Smith said. “Both the pets and the family were happy to be back together again.”
All but one of those animals has been reconnected with their owners, McHugh-Smith said, though not all get to go home yet. There are ten animals still in long-term care at HSBV. The organization will continue to care for those animals until their owners find a stable place to live , she said.
The animal care organization received an overwhelming show of support in the week following the Marshall fire, so now McHugh-Smith and her staff have started distributing pet food and supplies. The supplies are available at the Boulder County Disaster Recovery Center, 1755 South Public Road in Lafayette, or directly from HSBV, 2323 55th Street in Boulder.
According to McHugh-Smith, HSBV has all the food and supplies the organization can handle at this time, but community members who want to support the nonprofit can make cash donations to HSBV’s Emergency Safety Net services.
McHugh-Smith urged pet owners outside of the affected area to think about a plan for their own furry companions, should another disaster occur. Having a “go-bag” for pets with prescriptions, documentation and essential supplies can be just as helpful as it is for humans, she said.
“If people take this time right now to put together a plan, this is a good time to reflect on that,” McHugh-Smith said.
For community members who still haven’t found missing pets, McHugh-Smith encouraged them to file a report with HSBV, either online or by calling 303-442-4030. HSBV is the central location for pet recovery in the area, she said.