By Devon Krusko, RedRover Field Services and Outreach Coordinator

As a transplant from Northern Vermont to Sacramento, I’ve quickly learned what a “dry heat” is. My dogs, typically active, have become slugs melted into tile floors, and it’s an effort to get any of us out the door for a walk. “It’s too hot,” I’ll murmur as my constant excuse.

Of course, the humid heat I encountered in Killeen, Texas, made Sacramento seem balmy in comparison – but the weather was the last thing on my mind when I arrived with RedRover Responders to help with the daily care and shelter of hundreds of rescued cats and kittens. That’s the thing about excuses: When it’s important, they don’t matter.  When you need to set up 300 crates in 24 hours, it doesn’t matter the temperature. It doesn’t matter the time. Suddenly, you can do anything! And you can do it non-stop.

Working side by side with the staff and volunteers of The Humane Society of the United States, the RedRover team helped to create an emergency temporary shelter to house hundreds of cats and kittens that were to be seized from an alleged neglect case. We soon learned that there were dogs in need as well, which meant kennels also needed to be built – and built quickly. Creating an animal shelter from scratch is a huge undertaking. The man-hours, the supplies, and the organization of it all is a whirlwind. It takes hours to painstakingly unpack crates, bowls, food, and litter boxes until suddenly – POOF – you have a shelter.

The animals arrived to us mostly in silence. It had been a difficult day removing 200 cats and dogs from squalid conditions. There were kittens living in aquariums, cats with eyes swollen shut and noses dribbling with infection, and some who needed to be rushed directly to a veterinarian. Animals deserve better.

Calm, but aware, the animals went easily into their new cages. Many stayed hunkered in the safety of their carriers while some explored their clean space. We kept their rooms quiet, lights off, and limited the amount of people interaction to give them some space. But by that afternoon, paws were reaching out for affection, kitty chirps and vocalizations could be heard from room to room, and tiny noses were pressed against cage doors begging to be booped. Medical needs were addressed and personalities began to shine.

Because here’s the thing: animals are resilient. They are adaptable. They move forward, even when it’s hard. It’s a lesson and a philosophy of life we should all strive to follow. The animals are soon moving into placement with rescue partners, and my heart is full thinking of how loved they will be. How valued. How appreciated.

Now back home in Sacramento, I’m reminded of this. So, I’m going to take that walk with my dogs – and feel grateful for the opportunity to share my life with these precious animals – regardless of the weather!

Learn more about the RedRover Responders program and how you can get involved at RedRover.org/Responders.