Rebecca Wilks

Rebecca Wilks; Photographer, Teacher, Yarnellian, Do-Gooder

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Chicken Soup From Yarnell #1

Welcome to a periodic series inspired by the (approaching) six-month anniversary of the Yarnell Hill Fire.  My husband and I have a second home in Yarnell, and are inspired by the cohesiveness of Yarnell and Peeples Valley and the small miracles we witness repeatedly as we rebuild.

This story honors a cat.

"Annie" was one of the lucky ones.  

Described as “fully feral” by veterinarian Kate McCullough (Muleshoe Animal Clinic, Peeples Valley) when she was found shortly after the fire, she had singed fur and burns on her feet.  Her story does have a happy ending.
Photo Credit; Kate McCullough

Here’s Annie shortly after she arrived at the clinic.  Muleshoe was a very busy place in the weeks after the disaster, housing as many as 57 animals (“not counting chickens”) which ranged from foundlings to temporary boarders.  The pace was dizzying.  Still Kate and her team, as well as Kim Lytle of Petey's Playground, found time to care for these animals.  Kate says that Annie was starting to tame down after a few weeks with the loving care she received.

Photo Credit; Kate McCullough
Then the Muleshoe folks put a couple of ­­kittens, not expected to survive, in an enclosure next to Annie.  They did manage to eat, and were starting to improve, but would tromp through their food and these messy kittens required 15 minutes cleaning after every meal.  That added up to a lot of time for the busy humans.  Annie was fascinated with them and started reaching through the bars toward the youngsters, so Kate put the three animals together.  Not only did Annie lovingly take on the grooming of the youngsters, but she dry-nursed and otherwise socialized them.

Photo Credit; Kate McCullough
Now they all have homes in the community, and one of the kittens is with Annie.

So many are contributing to recovery after the Yarnell Hill Fire, and not all of them are human.


  1. Very cool story. So many of the animals that came through the Muleshoe Clinic after the fire left with a brighter future. So much happened during the weeks following. Thanks for the reminder Rebecca.

    1. Thanks for the comment, Kim. And thanks to YOU for your huge contribution since the disaster!

  2. Always touches my heart to hear stories like this.