“Sometimes we should express our gratitude for the small and simple things like the scent of the rain, the taste of your favorite food, or the sound of a loved one’s voice. “ – Joseph B. Wirthlin

Galen Groff, a 3rd year DVM student, and Dr. Karen Park, a surgical resident, finish bandaging one of the cats rescued from the Camp Fire. He was later identified as Mayson and reunited with his owner.

As we look skyward through the gray smoke that hovers over us, waiting for the winter rains, it is a good time to reflect on the blessings around us each day.

A holiday to express gratitude following the deadly California fires over the past several weeks is both timely and healing. From tragedy comes hope as we observe all those who came to help the animals and people affected by the fire.

It is in a crisis like this that I realize how much this community inspires me. Our school has been well represented in the response to the fires; from our faculty, students and staff working on the front lines to rescue and heal animals, to the small acts of kindness shown by those who treated the animals in our hospital and documented the stories that have touched people worldwide. Throughout the school, through action, skill, and compassion, we showed the world our values and passion to help heal animals, people, and the environment.

DVM students form a crucial part of our Veterinary Emergency Response Team that has been reporting to the Butte Co. Fairgrounds daily to treat animals and bring back those that need additional care to the hospital.

I am also proud of how our community has adapted to the disruptions caused on campus. The classes cancelled will be rescheduled and our work will be there when we return to our normal schedules. Our faculty, students and staff pulled together, recognizing that these are interruptions. Lives lost and keepsakes burnt in the charred rubble of ash that were once homes are not replaceable.

I am so grateful to all those that stepped up in our time of need to come to the aid of victims, organizing efforts both incredible and ordinary to help during the crisis. The recovery will be long and marked by setbacks and heartache for those that have lost so much, but knowing we have a caring community that comes forward in dark times, provides hope and a path forward.

This team of amazing veterinary technicians, faculty clinicians and students were ready on a Saturday night to care for animals brought from the Camp Fire.

As we take a few moments to reflect on what we have lost, let’s also be mindful of what we have in our daily lives to be thankful for each day. These are the things that allow our souls to heal: the scent of rain, a well-cooked meal, and the warmth of those we love and that love us.