July 19th, 2008
Submitted by EARS Regional Director Karla Schulte
Well I’m back in Cedar Rapids. I intended to update the blog sooner, but things have been very busy here. Why would I expect any different? It is 6 a.m. on Saturday. Today is our last day. At least I think it is Saturday … it’s funny how you lose track of all sense of time when you are deployed.
I got back to Cedar Rapids on Monday. Terri Atwater came with me from Kansas. We were shocked at what we found. Walking through the Equine Building (where the owned and rescued animals had been kept) were row after row of empty stalls. Apparently the day before we got there, two shelters came and took several of the remaining dogs. It is mostly kitty city now.
It is amazing that almost 1,200 animals were processed through Cedar Rapids in just over a month. Anyone who was here in the beginning would be astonished at the difference. It is like a different deployment. By the way, several people who were here at the beginning have been here this week. In addition to Terri, Janet Hoover, Cynthia Brandes, Paige Grossman and Amy Greene have all returned. It’s like a reunion!
On Wednesday, we began adoptions with the remaining animals. What an experience! We had approximately 19 adoptions each day on Wednesday and Thursday. All the dogs were adopted by the end of the day on Thursday. This was quite a feat because most of the remaining dogs were big dogs.
The last dog to go was the black cocker spaniel that several of the EARS volunteers had gotten attached to. Some of you may remember him. He has a growth on his left eye and when he came in he was so matted he had to be shaved. He is such a sweet boy that you could not help but fall in love with him if you spent any time with him at all. Unfortunately no one was willing to that. They would look at him and walk away. It seemed like his heart would break a little more each time that happened, but I know it was really my own heart that was breaking. Finally, toward the end of the day on Thursday, a mother came in with her two little boys, ages 11 and 7. It was love at first sight for dog and boys. It’s funny how the kids looked past his growth and warts and only saw a wonderful loving pet. There were more than a few tears in the eyes of all when the family left the shelter.
Yesterday the Equine Building was shut down. All animals are now in the Tippie Building or Animal Health Technology. EARS volunteers are now the cat ladies in Tippie. At the beginning of the day we were caring for about 65 cats. By the end of the day I’m estimating that number was down to approximately 35. I didn’t get final numbers, but I’m guessing we had about 10 adoptions and then a transport from DeKalb, Illinois that took 20 cats at the end of the day.
Today is the final day of our deployment. We’ve come a long way since the beginning. We are all tired, but there is definitely a sense of satisfaction knowing we helped get almost 1,200 animals return home or get into new homes and shelters.