January 27th, 2015
By RedRover Responders volunteer, Jodi Jenkins.
Six RedRover Responders volunteers recently provided emergency animal sheltering for 55 dogs and puppies rescued from a neglectful and unsanitary private property in Pike County, Ohio. Volunteers came from South Carolina, Kentucky, Michigan, and several parts of Ohio to help the dogs. The property had been unsuitable for the dogs for some time, and RedRover was asked to help by Pike County Ohio Humane Society (PCOHS) following the death of the property owner.
When the volunteer PCOHS Humane Law Enforcement officer and minimal base of community volunteers arrived on-site, they found various small breed dogs, including toy fox terriers, beagles, Chihuahuas, dachshunds, terrier mixes, and a variety of other mixed breeds. The one exception was an older blind Labrador, whose best friend is a terrier mix. Dogs were mostly roaming free on the property, with little or no shelter available. Some were also housed in crates, small enclosures, and some resided on an uncovered porch. All the dogs appeared to be suffering from a combination of malnutrition, health issues, and/or behavioral problems, due to chronic neglect.
The formidable challenge to which RedRover volunteers responded with determination was that PCOHS does not have a shelter building. The only building available to set up the emergency shelter was an abandoned, cinder-block building, with numerous holes in the walls and ceiling, boarded-up windows, a piece of plastic sheeting where the garage door used to be, and no running water or electricity. In short measure, RedRover volunteers converted this primitive building from a dilapidated property to a functioning and supportive shelter with thriving animals.
Two small black dogs were of particular concern for the volunteers, as one volunteer described. “I usually do pretty well with maintaining emotional separation but I got really attached to those two because they were so frail. We worried the first night that they might not make it. They were so weak they couldn’t walk. After 4 days of 4-times-a-day small feedings, they were starting to show a little personality and even would come to the front of the cage when I walked by because they thought they were going to get fed!”
When asked what they learned about themselves by working on a deployment with some extreme challenges, the volunteers resounded with, “I can do it,” and “I am stronger than I think I am.” And, as always, they did it for the animals that needed their help.
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