December 17th, 2008
Submitted by EARS volunteer Margaret Blackman of Oshawa, Ontario
There is a cycle to any deployment. First there is the adrenaline rush as you deploy, then the heartache as you see the destruction, or in this case, the terrible condition of the animals. Next comes the joyous moments as each animal makes their personal breakthroughs and we get to know the individual personalities of each one.
Today’s cycle was the bittersweet one, as we started to say goodbye some of our charges as they left for their individual foster homes. It is a bit like sending your children off on their first day of school. Are they prepared? Have we helped them to develop enough skills in the short time they were in our care? Does this coat fit? Is this sweater warm enough for the ride?
Have we sent enough information for the foster home (such as the ones who will not eat from bowls yet)? Volunteers would see an empty cage and say, “Oh has XXX left yet? I didn’t get to say goodbye.” Several volunteers dashed out without coats to say good-bye as a crate was loaded into the waiting van. We knew they were in good hands with the young man who volunteered to drive them to the first handoff point (about 400km round trip).
The afternoon was easier with fewer cages to clean, but it was also more difficult; passing by the empty cages where XXX had wagged a tail at us this morning. Someone would say “Oh, I need to check if XXX ate today,” then realize that dog was miles away.
It is the natural cycle of a deployment. We know this. We understand this. That does not mean that it is easy.
Today is my birthday. I did not say anything about it all day at the shelter. My celebration was watching each crate being loaded into vehicles, giving each one a new life. That is the best celebration of my birth and life that I could think of.
Old friendships have been renewed, new friendships have been made. Tomorrow I return home — to my life and my waiting furry companions.
And the cycle will continue …