BOULDER CO. — Hundreds of families were displaced after the Marshall Fire in Boulder County, and hundreds of animals also lost their homes. Now, a local animal care advocate is volunteering her time to provide care for dozens of animals.
The morning after the Marshall Fire began, Ashley Main drove to Boulder County to care for displaced animals. She's a surgery veterinary technician from Colorado Springs, and when she arrived in Louisville, she helped with at least 30 horses, 10 chickens, and placed 16 cat shelters around the fire zone. She also triaged animals who were evacuated and helped with treating wounds.
"I've really just been following the need. I've gotten to assess some wounds at the owners' request and help make sure they didn't need further veterinary care, and I flushed out a lot of eyes on horses to get out the debris. The winds were so strong here, between that and the smoke, there was a lot of damage to their eyes," said Main.
She said part of the reason she went to Louisville, was because her aunt and uncle live there but they were out of town, and a relative had to go to their home and break a window to rescue their cats. After checking on the home, she started calling around for volunteering opportunities and quickly got to work.
Main says part of the care she's providing is helping animals remain calm and providing comfort until they're reunited with their owners.
"They get that loving reassurance and taking five extra minutes to scratch them behind the ears, so that they have that warmth and reminder of home that they're hopefully going to be returning to," said Main.
Now five days after these animals lost their homes, she's seeing a big improvement in their temperament and how they're doing emotionally.
"Right after the fire, that first morning, the animals were all very stressed. It's a relief to see them after a couple days of stability and love, that they are already doing so much better," said Main. "It's going to take a really long time to heal from this, but I think having stability at places like Luvin' Arms Animal Sanctuary has made a really big difference."
Main is also an advocate for animals using her platform as Miss Colorado Springs. She was crowned in 2021 and through that platform, she's been able to speak in front of the city council on legislative items.
Main says she'll continue volunteering her time when she can, in hopes that all the animals will soon be reunited with their owners.
"My whole life, I have just had a heart for animals. Everything I do, I want it to be for animals," said Main.
If you would like to help with the relief efforts for animals who were injured or displaced by the Marshall Fire, you can make a donation to the Humane Society of the Boulder Valley.
At least three of the chickens that Main helped, were taken to Luvin' Arms Animal Sanctuary, a non-profit in Erie, CO. It's about 20 minutes away from Louisville and 30 minutes away from Superior. For more information about that organization, click here.
Westside Animal Hospital in Colorado Springs will also be collecting donations and monetary donations to give to the Colorado Pet Pantry to distribute to those in need.