February 28th, 2012
This blog entry was written by Marcia Goodman, RedRover Responders volunteer and Communications Assistant as she reflected on the first day of deployment.
Every RedRover deployment is different, and the current rescue of cats from Madison County, Florida is no exception.
For starters, it’s huge. By the end of the first day, 200 cats have been rescued, but that’s just the beginning. Because all the cats ran loose on the property, there’s no certainty in the estimate of the total number of cats who will be rescued, but it may reach as many as 700.
|RedRover Responders volunteer Diane prepares litter boxes for the hundreds of cats rescued in Madison County, Florida.|
The other big difference from most other deployments is in the number of different animal rescue organizations that are involved in the rescue and management of the shelter. RedRover is partnering with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), PetSmart Charities, the Florida State Animal Response Coalition, and three other organizations. There are many people on this deployment.
The first day of this huge undertaking was amazing, especially given the size and complexity of the operation. There was lots of communication: during the day, ASPCA held five briefings for all staff and volunteers, and we all worked together very well. In that way, it’s been like all RedRover deployments – people are here for the animals, all wanting to support each other because it’s good for animals (and makes us feel good, too!).
This first day also entailed lots of work, which is also typical of RedRover deployments. RedRover volunteers put together cages and then more cages and then more cages. Then we unloaded cats from the ASPCA rig and carried them to their new temporary homes at the emergency shelter. Then we put together more cages and then more cages and then more cages. We arrived at the shelter at 7:30 AM and left at 8:30 PM. At the end of the day, our bodies were sore, but our spirits were soaring at the excitement of helping to create hopeful new lives for so many cats.