September 30th, 2011
Over 40 RedRover Responders volunteers helped set up and operate the emergency shelter in LaChute, Quebec, to care for over 500 dogs and puppies seized from a large-scale breeding operation. On Sunday, September 25, RedRover demobilized, and Humane Society International (HSI) Canada continued the care of the rescued animals.
HSI-Canada relied extensively on the hard work and expertise of the RedRover Responders. Rebecca Aldworth, Executive Director of HSI-Canada said, “I’ve never worked with such professional, dedicated, and hardworking volunteers. It was truly inspiring to work in their presence. More than 500 dogs owe their lives and well-being to the RedRover volunteers.” Rebecca added that she hopes to work with RedRover Responders again in the future.
As of this date, the court case against the owners and operators of the breeding operation is pending. However, Rebecca Aldworth said, “I am very confident about the case, and optimistic we can get each of these dogs into a home.”
Because the court case is pending, the information that can be released about the animals is limited. However, there was some good news we can share — the shipment of Kuranda dog beds, donated by Jamieson Laboratories, arrived at the shelter. Each one of the dogs now has his or her own bed — providing comfort and support, as well as getting the dog off the ground. While some dogs eyed them warily — possibly never having seen or lain on a bed before — others hopped in right away. Rebecca Aldworth said, “The big dogs hopped onto them and really enjoy them.”
Volunteers returning home from this deployment are reflecting on their experiences. For volunteer Jennifer Rose, from Winchester, Ontario, this was her first deployment. It was especially meaningful to her as she was aware of the particular breeding operation from which the dogs were rescued.
While regretting the need for such a deployment, Jennifer said, “I loved every minute of it. It was a very good experience.” The physical labor was exhausting, and the experience was “emotional.” Additionally, the sheer numbers of animals was a revelation to Jennifer. “I don’t think anyone can imagine what 537 dogs is really like,” she said. “It’s hard to fathom that many animals,” she said, and the amount of work it takes to care for them.
This was volunteer Ruth Garretson’s first deployment in Canada. Ruth, who is from Virginia, loved the chance to work with Canadian volunteers. “I thought they were wonderful, and amazingly hard workers.”
Volunteer Brenda Bunn, from Peterborough, Ontario, fell for a younger Keeshond during her deployment. “I’d talk to him, but he’d turn his head away — he was too nervous.” Brenda continued her efforts to socialize the young dog throughout her time at the shelter. When moving the dog up to a higher kennel, Brenda tried again, and said to him, “What do you think, should we move you up to a room with a view?” Brenda said, “He turned and looked at me and smiled. My heart just melted. This is why we do what we do.”