May 12th, 2011
Submitted by UAN volunteer Debbie Ferguson of Kildeer, Illinois
|Happy to see his family coming for him!|
Each day seems to get a little bit easier for the UAN volunteers who have been sheltering more than 500 animals threatened by the flooding of the Mississippi River. Since the threat of more flooding was lifted Monday, more than half of the animals have been reunited with their families! After today we have 153 dogs, 96 cats, 5 horses, 1 dove, 1 rabbit, 1 guinea pig and 1 lonely but very friendly goat. All seem to be settling into their temporary homes quite well due to the many volunteers who have traveled to Missouri to give them the love and care they need while separated from their families.
|This girl spent 15 minutes in this position,
happily chewing her toy.
The dogs seem to be especially happy as we have been able to move many of them into larger units and spend more time socializing with them as their numbers have dropped. Their personalities have been coming out as their fear and anxiety disappears. We see the two basset hounds wrapped around each other, the little bulldog happily chewing on her toy, butt up in the air, and the many smiling dogs throughout the shelter, and our exhaustion from the long, hard days is replaced by the satisfaction of a labor of love.
|The last bunny waits to be
reclaimed by his family.
Our lone remaining bunny is hanging out with the last guinea pig. Gus the goat has a nice little pen all to himself, close to the horses, but really appreciates human company more than anything else. The cats love their cozy beds and the many beautiful kittens spend their time sleeping, playing with each other, or bothering Mom.
|Gus the goat.|
All in all, this has been a most rewarding week for those of us lucky enough to spend time with these lovely animals. Though most of the animals will go back to their homes, a number of strays and voluntarily surrendered animals will soon move on to adoption shelters to find new forever homes. We have enjoyed spending quality time with these animals, getting them socialized and accustomed to giving and receiving love, and we know they are going to have great lives with loving families soon. And that is the primary reason we do what we do.
|A beautiful kitten|
Each day I see my fellow volunteers leave for home with tears in their eyes as they say goodbye to the animals they spent so many days caring for and loving. We know when we arrive that our relationship with these animals will be temporary, but we still lose our hearts to them and grieve at the loss of these beautiful animals that have touched us so deeply. Tomorrow I say goodbye once again to my many charges: shy Rudy, sweet Kelly, no-name Benji-dog, wild Max, the two Buddys, my three surrendered young Labs and so many more. And I will leave with tears in my eyes as well, some of sadness at my loss, but many of happiness for the future of these animals I had a small part in saving.
And it makes me think about the comments I get when I tell people about UAN and what we do. The typical question is “How can you do it? It would break my heart!” And my response is the same as every other animal lover who has participated in any kind of rescue: “How can I not?”