March 14th, 2010
Submitted by EARS volunteer Marcia Goodman of Cromwell, Connecticut
Friday was a stellar day for the dogs at the emergency shelter in DeKalb, Mississippi. About 100 dogs were removed today for drop-off at animal welfare organizations, which will put them up for adoption. Most are headed for the Washington Animal Rescue League in Washington, D. C. They left our shelter in fine accommodations in the beautiful HSUS animal transport rig.
Above is a photo of the rig, and at right, a close-up of most of the EARS volunteers gathered at the cab of the rig. From left to right, they are Lynn Frischmann from California, our fearless leader Stacy Harris from Texas, Sharon Covington from California, Sue Ellen Scurlock from Mississippi and Ruth Scroggin from Arkansas. At the wheel of the cab is Perry Stone, the driver of the rig for HSUS who was a favorite among UAN volunteers.
Two expectant mamma dogs (below) were too far along in their pregnancy to make the trip to D.C., but after the rig left, they were enormously lucky that EARS volunteer Julie Rathbun of Mobile, Alabama was part of our team. Julie probed her contacts back home and through a local animal rescue organization she found homes for the two mommas-to-be in Mobile, one of whom is with a vet. At right is a photo of Julie leaving for home, with photos of the two dogs she transported below. Have a safe trip, Julie, and let’s hope that the mamma who’s about to spring forth some puppies holds off until you’re home! Julie told us that the vet is located near her home and she promised to post photos of the puppies when the time comes.
With the removal of so many dogs, the emergency shelter now has fewer than 25 dogs remaining. With the reduced amount of time needed to clean, feed and water the kennels, the volunteers will now have time for meaningful socialization time with the dogs, and we’re ecstatic about that.
As we proceed through the changing of the volunteer guard, several volunteers have completed their deployment. Angela Shields of Virginia left this morning after most of the dogs who were leaving were loaded onto the rig. Angela is experienced in animal rescue work and has been a team leader in a prior deployment with EARS. She’s been on about seven deployments.
Angela began her EARS work when she heard about the animals affected by Hurricane Isabel in 2003. She chose UAN as the organization with which to volunteer because UAN is all about the sheltering. Originally, she didn’t feel overly confident about doing field work, but as with any UAN volunteer, if the need arrives she’ll step up to the plate to do any job. Once she began doing field work, she felt very comfortable with being on the scene. In the current deployment, Angela was one of four UAN volunteers who went to the site for the rescue operation.
Angela loves volunteering with UAN not only because of the animals, but also because she loves building relationships among EARS volunteers. She has been making lifelong friends at these deployments.
What has caused Angela to focus on animals? Angela grew up around animals and has become more and more active in animal welfare over time. Angela finds this hoarding deployment to be bittersweet, yet rewarding. She was says that it’s terrific to see the dogs go from being fearful at the rescue site to wagging their tails, coming to you, and wanting to lick your hand. She also enjoys seeing their health starting to improve in the short period of time they spend at the temporary shelter.
It was no surprise to learn that Angela has served as a team leader for EARS. She is among the most knowledgeable volunteers at this site in helping to erect the shelter from scratch, and she was also one of the two people who came with an arsenal of tools that we all borrowed as we worked to create the shelter. (The other “tool person” was Debra Hutcherson who was one of yesterday’s featured volunteers.) I asked Angela how she came to be so prepared, and she responded that she’s a boat dealer so she needs to always be prepared since you can’t always readily get what you immediately need. She has also learned during her previous deployments to be ready for anything. As a sideline, at her business she sells animal items for which all proceeds go to Churchland Cat Coalition, a nonprofit she created, to trap, neuter and release feral cats.
Another volunteer who completed her deployment today is Julie Rathbun of Mobile, Alabama, who, as reported above, left today with two expectant mothers. This has been her third UAN deployment; she also was deployed once by the Humane Society of Missouri. Why does Julie volunteer with EARS? She been rescuing and fostering animals since her teens, whether they be dogs dumped in the countryside, injured dogs on highways, loose dogs confused and darting into roads, etc. After Hurricane Katrina, when she learned there are ways to help a large number of animals, she was ready for it.
But why EARS in particular? She says that UAN provides a unique niche. She says that “these are people ready to do the dirty and hard work without a lot of recognition.”
I asked Julie how she feels about this particular deployment, and she says that every deployment is different but shares the same value that change is inevitable and we have to adapt to it. “If you don’t have enough space, you need suddenly to create more. If you don’t have enough supplies, you need to adapt.” It’s that “can do” attitude, as well as her excellent organizational skills that have helped make Julie’s participation particularly valuable to the deployment here in De Kalb. These skills have been built on her prior employment as office manager for the then-largest plastic surgery group in Alabama. She now volunteers at the sheriff’s office in the program that collects information from drugstore purchases of Sudafed and seeing where the drugs go, especially focusing on methamphetamine labs.
Here are a few more photos of the EARS volunteers loading the dogs onto the HSUS transport vehicle (Ruth Scroggin, Sharon Covington, Sue Ellen Scurlock):