The owner of Phoenix Animal Hospital, Glen Winters, made the decision to evacuate ahead of the Almeda fire. Which meant quickly removing all the beloved pets being cared for at their location. Believing that his business never had anything to worry about.
But even though the pets were saved, he was one of many business owners to lose everything after the fire moved through.
“I started receiving calls that there was fire going on in the Ashland and Talent area, and we said, ‘Eh it’s a couple of miles away, we should be fine,” Winters said.
Concerned citizens were frantic and calling frequently to warn the clinic of the fire. Thankful for the warning, Winters decided to go ahead and evacuate all the pets. Unfortunately, two of the owners of the clinic were unable to get there due to road closures.
According to Winters, his employees stepped up and brought pets home with them to ensure their safety. Everything was moving so quickly that nothing seemed real.
“One of my employees took a 38-pound tortoise home with him, and another employee got a dog to a rescue society that we work with. They were reunited later with their owners,” said Winters.
Being the last one to leave the clinic, Winters looked down 99 south and there it was!
Less than a quarter mile away, he could see a 20-foot wall of flames racing towards them.
Sadly, it was time to go. His only regret was not being able to grab more stuff from the clinic. Unfortunately, they lost all of their equipment, supplies, inventory, and the building itself.
“The only thing that went untouched is the American flag out front and the Phoenix Animal Hospital sign,” said Winters.
With an incredible out pour of love and support from the community, there was no shortage of kindness. Even from those who had lost their own homes. They were more concerned with helping the clinic any way they could. Whether it be carrying ashes and rubble away, clearing the property, or any other means necessary.
Fortunately, the insurance will cover the rebuild, and they plan to come back bigger and stronger than ever before for the area pets!
The number one question he has received is where his customers can go to fill their pet’s prescription medications, or where they can go to get their pets prescription diets.
“A couple of the animal clinics like West Main Animal Hospital in Medford and A Street Animal Clinic in Ashland are willing to refill the prescriptions without seeing the patients, and do whatever it is to help us until we reopen,” Winters said.
Phoenix Animal Hospital will be shifting their pet patients to other locations.
West Main Animal Hospital and A Street Animal Hospital are available for pet parents between now and the time at which they can reopen their doors. With the heavy smoke still lingering in the air, it is best to keep your animals inside. Especially goats and horses who struggle the most with these conditions.
Many animals have suffered from burns and require medical attention immediately. Unfortunately, anxiety could put the pets health at risk too. Giving yours pets a lot of extra attention during this time can help them through it.
“Try the best you can to get back into a normal routine, because animals really like a routine,” Winters said. “When everything is turned upside down on them, they don’t have their home, sometimes they’re displaced from their owners, getting back to routine will be the best for them.”
An emergency animal hospital, The Southern Oregon Veterinary Specialty Center, has launched a GoFundMe fundraiser in support of and to honor the Phoenix Animal Hospital.
It is called “The Phoenix Fund” and has raised more than $87,000 of their $100,000 goal.
The Southern Oregon Veterinary Specialty Center is treating cats and dogs who have suffered from burns. This includes pets and stray or misplaced cats and dogs. The emergency center is also covering all costs of treatment for the lost animals it is treating until their owners can be found. At that time, they will reunite with their owners and transfer to their primary vets.
Where is the money going from the “Phoenix Fund”? The Southern Oregon Veterinary Specialty Center plans to distribute the money to local animal aid organizations. They include the Southern Oregon Humane Society, Shelter Friends, No Pet Left Behind, Committed Alliance to Strays, Southern Oregon All Breed Dog Rescue Association, and the Toby Fund.