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W.O.L.F. Sanctuary Needs Help As They Recover From High Park Fire

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Michelle Proulx and CBS4's Alan Gionet pet a wolf at the sanctuary (credit: CBS)

Michelle Proulx and CBS4’s Alan Gionet pet a wolf at the sanctuary (credit: CBS)

GALLERIES: COLORADO'S WORST WILDFIRES

BELLVUE, Colo. (CBS4) – When the High Park Fire hit the steep terrain around the W.O.L.F. sanctuary they had to try to round up animals in fenced enclosures as large as an acre.

The sanctuary is a home for wolf-dog mixes and some are wilder than others. That meant some of the animals had to be left behind. Now the sanctuary is working to recover.

It’s hard to catch a glimpse of Kiki the wolf-dog in the large enclosure she calls home. The enclosure is in steep mountain terrain at the shelter right in the High Park burn area.

“You just look at it and you can’t believe that it didn’t just continue straight on through and just decimate the whole facility,” Michelle Proulx with the sanctuary said.

Proulx was very nervous for Kiki and 16 other wolf-dogs they could not corral as the fire approached. They were forced to leave them as the fire raged.

“The entire enclosure was surrounded and there was fire in the enclosure with her when she was in there,” Proulx said. “It really is a miracle that she survived.”

The shelter lost three buildings and some of their equipment. Days later they were able to get back in to the wolf-dogs they were unable to evacuate.

“She was basically in a shut-down mode, so much trauma, so much stress that she was completely shut down,” Proulx said. “She didn’t move, she didn’t eat.”

Kiki and the other animals are all doing well now. It’s recovery time.

“We’re desperately needing funds more than ever and we’re looking for people to help with donations,” Executive Director Shelley Coldiron said.

Just above the shelter’s enclosures the damage is heavy. There is a lot of work to do to restore some of the enclosures. Fence is laid on the ground to keep the wolf-dogs from digging out, but it’s loose.

“So we’ve got to restore the top of the mountain, we’ve got to restore in here. We’ve got to replace dig guard, fence posts, dig guard logs,” Proulx said.

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It’s a huge job on their steep slopes.

There are ways to raise that money like with piece of artwork they’re selling.

“It depicts the wolf in the fire and it tells the whole story about the High Park Fire and the wolves’ plight,” Coldiron said.

Behind the fences the animals roam as they did before the fire. They feed them and care for them. The sanctuary came through it, but just barely.

“I would have been so scared to be up there. It’s just kind of a tribute to their strength and just will to live,” Proulx said.

“Our victory is that we got them all home safe,” Coldiron said.

For more information on the painting the W.O.L.F. sanctuary is selling and other ways to support the organization visit the W.O.L.F. sanctuary’s website.

Wildfire Resources

- Visit CBSDenver.com’s Wildfire Resources section.

- Read recent Wildfire stories.

Wildfire Photo Galleries

- See images from the most destructive wildfires (Waldo Canyon, High Park and Fourmile) and largest wildfire (Hayman) in Colorado history.

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