June 17th, 2015
by Bob Bridge, RedRover Responders volunteer Team Lead
The central Texas region recently experienced the worst flooding the area had seen in more than 100 years. Bridges engineered not to fail did exactly the opposite; they were washed off their piers. In the metropolitan area of San Marcos, many houses were flooded, forcing residents to evacuate to safety along with their pets. Luckily, the San Marcos Regional Animal shelter was not flooded, and was able to take in and care for these pets and other animals rescued from the flood waters.
The road to the animal shelter was lined with flood-soaked drywall, fiberglass insulation, and furniture, as building residents rolled up their sleeves to get their lives back in order. San Marcos Animal Shelter staff put forth a great effort to return to a sense of normalcy. But with the influx of animals, the staff needed just a little more assistance, and reached out to RedRover for help.
RedRover Responders from throughout Texas arrived to assist the San Marcos Animal Shelter. Each morning, RedRover Responders volunteers met before the shelter opened to coordinate and determine the day’s activities. Volunteers conducted sanitation chores such as laundry and bowl cleaning as well as kennel and crate cleaning. Stock rooms and the bulk storage area (referred to as a “Sallyport” by shelter employees) were organized. Debris was removed from the grounds. RedRover Responders also assisted concerned pet owners that came through the shelter’s door looking for their lost cat or dog. Their concern for their pet was obvious and we did our best to be supportive of their plight and asked them to check back again as new additions came to the shelter every day.
Most importantly, there was always time for RedRover Responders volunteers to do what they do best – bring animals from crisis to care. Hours were spent each day walking, talking, and comforting companion cats and dogs. The shelter had graciously opened its doors to owners who had lost everything, allowing their companion animals temporary residence. It was tough to see these folks endure their loss, but there were plenty of smiles as they came to the shelter to visit and see their animals were getting what they get at home; love and affection. It was such a reward to hear them tell us, “Thank you for being here.”
The shelter personnel were gracious hosts. Exhausted from responding to a natural disaster, it had to have been difficult for them to let new faces come into their facility. But, they recognized our passion and professionalism and were so thankful. We departed after two weeks to lots of smiles, accolades, and “thanks for helping the animals.” What some volunteers mentioned as the smoothest deployment they’d ever been on was a result of a team effort of RedRover Responders and shelter personnel that encompassed unparalleled collaboration and a common goal of making things right for people and animals.
See below for photos from the deployment