When wildfires raged across communities near Denver, Colorado, destroying at least 500 homes, something amazing happened. Somehow, in the midst of all that heat, smoke, and devastation, Camden Hall’s beloved cat Merlin, made his way to the porch of the only home left standing. He was badly burned but managed to summon his inner strength to survive and many folks really believe there’s something almost “magical” about this, according to People.
Merlin has lived up to his name, Hall says.
“Little wizard. Little Magician.” In an interview with 9News, Camden’s mom Sally agreed about “her little grand.” “Well, Merlin has lived up to his namesake, little wizard, little magician,” she said.
In an interview with WTHR Tuesday, Hall, a professional snowboarder, talked about the chilling moment he realized poor little Merlin was trapped in the middle of the Marshall Fire, which blazed across the town of Superior and the cities of Louisville, Broomfield, and unincorporated parts of Boulder County in late December.
Hall was at work at Eldora Mountain Ski Resort when he received the fateful call from his landlord that he’d lost everything — his home and his belongings in the blaze.
Someone also made a poster featuring Merlin, in the hopes that someone would find him.
“I pulled off the side of the trail so I could take a call, and that’s when my landlord told me that it was just all gone.” Thoughts of his beloved cat rushed in and he worried that he might have forgotten to leave the sliding door open for his kitty to go in and out.
“I was like 99 percent sure that I had left the sliding door open,” Camden says. “However I remember opening it and closing it, and I was like wait — did I open it again,” he couldn’t help wondering.
But Merlin is a plucky cat and he was able to flee the burning home. And members of the Soul Dog Rescue group were already on patrol, searching the area for lost and injured animals when they found Merlin resting on the porch of the only home that was still standing.
In a Facebook post, the group describes Merlin cat as “a severely burned kitty,” who was “burned beyond recognition.”
Poor little cat.
“[I] can’t imagine what he saw through his little kitty eyes — had to have been quite terrifying,” Hall says.
Soul Dog found Merlin’s microchip and that led them to Hall. But when he arrived at the rescue he wasn’t really sure if this was Merlin. The kitty’s burns were that bad. And the microchip confirmed, of course, that this was indeed him.
“That was just when it went from straight hopelessness, loss, to nothing but joy and happiness and being fulfilled,” Camden says.
Merlin has bravely faced his journey back to health. That included more than a month of recuperating from the burns to his face and paws at the Northside Emergency Pet Clinic. But Hall knows Merlin is a fighter.
“Since he’s magical Merlin, he’s probably got more than nine,” Hall says. “I have Merlin, and everything’s gonna be okay.”
A GoFundMe account has been started by a friend of Hall’s to help with this kitty’s medical bills. So far it’s a success, raising more than $26,000, which will undoubtedly help him and Camden look forward to better days ahead. Poor Merlin was dealing with so much pain that it took him a while to start eating, but when he did his appetite returned and he was on his way to healing.
The Marshall Fire left devastation in its wake, but Merlin’s story is one of hope, and in a Facebook post, Camden notes:
“He [Merlin] is one fighter and trooper, on his way to a full recovery! Thank you to Northside Emergency Pet Clinic for all that you’ve done for Merlin s well as Soul Dog Rescue! In addition to the community whose shown me unwavering love and support as well as all the donations. I am still in shock by how much my beautiful community has helped me out. Bless your kind souls, I cannot thank everyone enough for all the cheer you’ve brought me in this tragic time. To those who lost it all, your thoughts and prayers are in my heart and I ask you to hold on to all the wonderful memories you had with your beautiful pet. Life is short, don’t take it for granted and don’t let it pass you by! -Love, Cam.”
During his time at the clinic, Merlin also fell in love with some of the kittens who were also patients there. (see the adorable video below!)
With such loving care at the clinic, Merlin was finally able to come home. This amazing cat continues to go from strength to strength. I decided to check on Merlin and let me tell you, he’s doing just beautifully.
“He’s eating like a champ,” Camden tells me. “I think he gets a little lazy and sleepy from his medications, so I’ll put the food bowls in front of him to remind him to stuff himself.”
Merlin especially loves Orijen Six Fish dry food and Weruva canned food and he visits the vet every other day, he adds. Most of his paws have healed well enough that his bandages have been removed but he’s still dealing with a small infection on his back right leg. Camden tells me everyone is hoping that will be completely healed within the next two or three weeks. But mainly he’s happy to have his beloved boy home.
“I feel happy and wholesome now that he’s home. I’m so excited to come home every day and spend time with him,” Camden says. “To keep him healthy, make sure he eats as much as he can and bring him on for his bandage changes. He’s starting to become playful.”
Merlin is still wearing his soft blue “satellite” collar and Hall suspects that’s inhibiting his playing a little bit, but it hasn’t crimped his curiosity.
“He’s starting to be adventurous around the house,” Camden says. “Someone sent me his favorite toy and I’ve been waving it in front of him and I saw his eyes get all big.”
That means this kitty will likely be up and playing very soon. And despite all he has to deal with, Merlin is actually very calm.
“His personality is very relaxed and chill. On the drives which are an hour each way he hangs out in his bed and now he’s been hanging out in my lap like he used to before the fire. He snuggled with me a lot and enjoyed being on my lap.”
And being a lap cat is a bit new for Merlin. “He would be there next to me,” Camden says but liked his space a bit.”
What a loving relationship and beautiful story. I know all of the people and pets whose lives were destroyed by this massive fire weren’t so lucky and my heart goes out to all of them. Merlin’s story is a light in the darkness and I hope he continues to thrive for many more happy years.
Below, see Camden and his mom’s happy reaction to seeing their baby again from FOX31:
For those who live in the areas affected by this devastating fire, the Humane Society of Boulder Valley has set up a database devoted to lost and found animals and is encouraging people who have lost pets to check the database and file missing animal reports with the shelter.
Recently, we shared the story of another kitty who survived the Marshall Fire. Now rescuers hope to reunite the orange cat with his human family.