March 17th, 2010
Submitted by EARS volunteer Marcia Goodman of Cromwell, Connecticut
I’m starting this on Monday, March 15, and I must start off with some very sad news. You may remember the two expectant mothers EARS volunteer Julie Rathbun took to Mobile, Alabama after arranging special homes for them. She took Mama Blondie to a veterinarian who she says is cutting edge and would give that sweet girl the best care she could receive. Here is an email I received from Julie about Mama Blondie on Sunday night:
“My trip home was safe and uneventful puppy wise. However, the blond girl was checked into the vet’s isolation ward Friday evening, after stretching out in their yard. When in the yard, she went immediately to the large area of cedar shavings, where she lay down and dragged her big belly around, as though to scratch her itches. You remember that she has lots of sores and skin issues. Saturday morning I received a phone call to tell me that she is in no condition to deliver her puppies. She apparently was having breathing difficulties and was so malnourished, etc. They said the vet, who is extremely pro-life, needed to “spay” her right now. I have not yet heard how the mama did during/after the surgery. I also know full well that she is getting the absolute best vet care in this state, cutting edge actually, with their staff specialists, etc. So whatever the outcome, she is blessed to be there. But yes, I have been heartbroken about this.”
The next morning Julie emailed me the following:
“Sad news to report. Mama Blondie had to be put down. The other mama is in fair condition at this point.”
I know everyone joins me in extending our deepest sympathy to Julie and the other volunteers who spent so much of their time working with the mothers and expectant mothers at the De Kalb shelter.
The good news is that the shelter is winding down. HSUS personnel have been in contact with various shelters and animal rescue groups about taking the remaining dogs.
The dogs have continued to demonstrate sweet and loving behavior. I described a few dogs yesterday. Here are a few more examples: Rudolf is very active and playful; his pen mate Oreo likes more quiet snuggling moments. Pictured below, Rudolf is trying to take the hat of Shari Emory, with fellow volunteer Connie Walker getting a big laugh from it; and Oreo snuggles with Connie.
Chance loves chasing balls and he runs in bunny-hop fashion, which is delightful to watch.
I took some video of him running which we’ll upload to UAN’s YouTube site, but here is a photo (right).
We gave Beauty (right) her name partly because of the beauty inside her, but also because when we volunteers look at her, we see beauty.
I continued interviewing the EARS volunteers at this shelter which I’ve loved doing because it’s given me an opportunity to learn more about them.
Sue Ellen Scurlock of Madison, Mississippi (pictured at right)has had two prior deployments with UAN and a local deployment during Hurricane Gustav. She has always had a special place in her heart for animals – both domestic and wildlife. As a little girl, she brought stray dogs home, and as a teenager, she began volunteering with shelters and wildlife organizations.
Sue Ellen chose UAN as one of her volunteer organizations because she heard they had scheduled training in Jackson, Mississippi. She wanted to qualify with EARS because she had been brought up in Mississippi and wanted to help with emergency shelters during hurricane season.
Sue Ellen feels good about this deployment. She says that the dogs are 100 percent better off, and the volunteers have been easy to work with, very nice and mostly cheerful considering what we’re dealing with. Sue Ellen’s deployment came during the second week; her first assignment upon arriving at the shelter was to help carry 100 dogs into the HSUS rig for transport to other shelters, leaving fewer than 25 at the shelter. Based on this experience, she says that this deployment hasn’t been as chaotic or hectic as her prior deployments because there have been fewer dogs.
Sue Ellen has continued to expand the ways in which she works to help animals. In addition to her rescue work, she has a backyard wildlife habitat certified by National Wildlife Association, and is also approved by the HSUS urban wildlife sanctuary. Later in March, Sue Ellen is taking a course that will certify her as an instructor in Pet First Aid and CPR, and she is arranging to teach others.
Sue Ellen brought to this deployment not only her talent, knowledge and energy, but also her exuberance and an absence of shyness in expressing how she feels. Every time Sue Ellen was with a group of people, that’s the place from which peals of laughter could be heard resonating through the shelter, with Sue Ellen’s laughter the most enthusiastic of all. Sue Ellen will return at the end of this deployment to help tear the shelter down.
Lynn Frischmann of Santa Cruz, California, has been on eight deployments with UAN, and three for other organizations. Her first deployment was after Hurricane Katrina.
Lynn has always been aware of animals. She brought home her first stray when she was eight years old, to the chagrin of parents. Her volunteerism started with wildlife at a refuge – big cats and wolves and former lab monkeys. She always helped in shelters gathering and taking supplies to different organizations.
Why has Lynn chosen UAN for her rescue work? Because she saw during Hurricane Katrina how well UAN ran the shelter and was very impressed with the program. That positive experience has been reinforced with each subsequent deployment for UAN.
In addition to being an EARS volunteer with UAN, Lynn regularly transports dogs who are on euthanasia lists of overcrowded shelters in California. A coordinator gets the lists, contacts other shelters to see who can take whom, and then gives Lynn the list to do the transporting. Last year, 1,700 of these dogs were transported, mostly within California.
In her past, Lynn was an EMT, taking care of people, but then she wanted to pursue her passion for animals all the time. She once asked a veterinarian why she, in particular, always seems to find cats and dogs in need, and he responded that it’s not that she finds animals in need – they’re always there. It’s that Lynn sees them.
Lynn says that this deployment has been great. It’s been particularly rewarding because she usually volunteers in the middle of a deployment and doesn’t see the dogs leave the shelter for a new future at the end of the deployment. Lynn says that she did her “happy dance” when she saw the HSUS rig leave on Friday with about 100 dogs.
Lynn and I joked during the deployment that it’s nearly impossible to find her smiling in a photograph. I’m so proud of myself that I managed to take the two photos of her smiling that appear here. Typically, Lynn has the expression of being on a mission with a fierce determination to succeed. That’s how intense Lynn’s passion for animals is.
I asked Lynn if there’s anything else she would like to add this interview, and she said, “Let’s spay and neuter everyone who has four legs so we can get a handle on the overpopulation problem.” That’s Lynn – always working for animals!