September 23rd 2005 1:30 pm
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I let my mom be gone for a really looong time; I had to stay at home with all the other kitties, the dog and our dad. She was off helping rescue animals abandoned and left behind in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. I helped because I was a good kitty while she was gone. ButI sure was happy to see her when she came home!!!
Here's my mom's story:
We spent several days of working/helping with the rescued animals at the Tylertown, Mississippi rescue site/encampment that Best Friends Animal Society has set up there. (About 100 miles north of New Orleans.) It was the most wonderful, miserable, fantastic, awful, incredible week spent with some of the most wonderful, generous, compassionate people -- I'm sure I won't ever be able to forget it.
A friend and I took a u-haul trailer full of donated supplies (a really big thank you to everyone who supported us with donations assistance and/or money - it certainly went to a very good cause.)
Every day, the rescuers (my heroes!) went off into the toxic sludge of New Orleans and each night, they brought in 20, 40, 60 dogs/cats/misc. small pets. Everyone would wake up and gather at the "Ellis Island" area to offload the animals. We would coax them out of their crates, loving and welcoming them even though we were always aware that they may be contaminated from the toxic areas they were rescued from. Some were so scared and traumatized that it just made you cry. Some were emaciated, burned, injured - but a lot of them weren't. They were walked and watered and put back into their crate to await the next day when they could be examined by vets, pictures taken for ID, and grouped into their new temporary pens.
And every day, in horribly hot and humid conditions, amid swarms of bugs, volunteers kept pouring in from all over the country. We fed, watered, walked, poop-scooped, and cared for all the dogs & cats and critters. We cleaned & sanitized mountains of crates so they could be used again for the next day's rescue efforts. We tried to keep from getting heat-stroke by drinking water/Gatorade/juice practically non-stop all day, and hosing each other down with the water hose. (The dogs had to be hosed down a couple times a day - it was just too @#@ hot!!!!!) We sorted and organized donated food and supplies. Some of the volunteers prepared sandwiches and sometimes a hot dinner (bless them). The vets and vet-techs worked to vaccinate and micro-chip the animals, and to tend their wounds and illnesses. It was both exhausting and exhilarating.
We cried tears of happiness whenever an animal was reunited with their people. Everyone cheered and teared and took pictures and wished them well - it was the best part of each day!
Then, each night, we'd fall into our sleeping bags and hope to get a few hours of sleep before starting it over again the next day. (It was extremely hard to sleep because of all the barking dogs and nighttime camp activity.) Regardless, my heart is still there with the wonderful volunteers and Best Friends employees who are continuing to take care of those poor, wonderful, and very-lucky-to-be-rescued animals.
PS - I took tons of pictures while I was there - and have them posted at http://community.webshots.com/user/evelynblack Scroll down to the albums titled "Hurricane Katrina".
(More info available at www.BestFriends.org)
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