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Veterinary Medicine

Donkey to receive PetAid Colorado Animal Hero award

Nov. 8, 2012

Ellie, the brave little donkey who led her equine pals to safety in this summer's High Park Fire, will receive one of this year's PetAid Colorado Animal Heroes awards tonight at the Pepsi Center.

CSU veterinary students examine Ellie the donkey earlier this summer during the High Park FireVeterinarians and students from CSU's Veterinary Teaching Hospital spent the first several weeks of the High Park Fire caring for displaced animals such as Ellie at The Ranch in Loveland. The Veterinary Teaching Hospital also temporarily hosted and cared for about 100 animals from the fire.

Ellie a heartwarming story

Fire rescuers told VTH doctors and nurses the story of Ellie, who was rumored to have kept her fellow equines – one donkey and three draft horses – safe during the fire. Ellie is owned by Greg Van Hare.

“The stories of Ellie and our other animal heroes are about hope, companionship, courage, and service –- and how these heroes have even saved the lives of others,” said Ralph Johnson, executive director of PetAid Colorado. “Whether it is a cancer-surviving man finding hope through the bond with his dog, or a veterinarian volunteering countless hours to provide free wellness exams for disadvantaged seniors, these stories provide inspiration and touch hearts.”

Kim Ellis, the head equine nurse at the CSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital, said this summer that one of the volunteer haulers who brought Ellie’s group to The Ranch told her this herd was standing in a lush green meadow, and when they arrived, Ellie, with singed whiskers, walked up to him and laid her head into his chest.

CSU volunteers helped treat animals during fire

“The few owners that I did meet and see reunited with their animals were very grateful for the immediate care and assessment as they were coming off of the trailers by the team,” Ellis said at the time.

CSU vets conducted physical exams, health checks and general treatment for smoke inhalation, dehydration and abrasions on the animals, which were largely rounded up by the Larimer County Sheriff’s Posse.

PetAid Colorado was created in 2002 as the Colorado Veterinary Medical Foundation, a non-profit organization, to support education, scholarship, and service programs that improve animal health and welfare in Colorado. Today, PetAid Colorado is the healthcare safety net for pets and fulfills a vast need by providing healthcare for pets of vulnerable populations exclusively. It collaborates with veterinarians and community partners, and prevents animal suffering and relinquishment through a unique array of programs including PetAid Animal Hospital, PetAid Care Grants, PetAid Disaster Services, and PetAid Home Outreach.

Contact: Emily Wilmsen
Phone: (970) 491-2336