Monday, May 16, 2011

Another day of deployment

May 16, 2011

After yesterday’s 12 plus hour work day and a night out enjoy some local Memphis Blues Music, the 6:15 am wake-up call came way to early this morning.
At least we are in a hotel, and not sleeping in tents, as I had originally expected. I really didn’t know what to expect when I had gotten the original email, asking for trained volunteers to help the ASPCA with the shelter operations they had set up down in Memphis.
My early morning rise included meeting other rescue volunteers along with ASPCA staff, American Humane Association employees and volunteers and then to make the 5 minute ride to the temporary animal shelter.
A local business was generous enough to donate the use of their large warehouse where the building was set up in sections; quarantine, general population, behavior challenged, cats, kittens, maternity ward, veterinary area, staff lounge and of course the command center.
There is use of a back parking lot, which allows the animals to get outside for walks and sunshine, which comes in handy while cleaning the cages.
I was assigned to the general population room with over 60 dogs, though I understand there was over 125, or maybe more, when the shelter was first set up.

Some animals are there only because their pet parents have been staying in Red Cross shelters or temporary housing which doesn’t allow pets. Daily, owners have been coming to reclaim their pets. It is nice to see the reunions happening; it boosts the spirits of the shelter workers.
The quarantine area was another story. I don’t know many of the details, but I understand there was a horder case uncovered during the floods and most of that area is dedicated to medical cases from the hoarder case. Only specified workers are allowed to enter/exit that area.
This afternoon when there were a few minutes of down time, I took advantage of it and cuddled with a litter of kittens. I was even able to get a dose or two of puppy breath, which put a smile on my face.

At the mid day briefing, myself and the CT crew was asked to relocate to a shelter in Missouri, where there has been another temporary shelter set up. I understand this one includes farm animals, and chickens, along with companion animals. Again, I don’t know many of the details, but will know more as we deploy in the morning.
Every night we end with a debriefing, and dinner. Then the night is our own and the animals get to rest.

There have been some awesome folks here, and I am honored to work with such an amazing group of welfare advocates from all over the United States. Safety for the animals and workers, behavior evaluations and enrichment, cleanliness, balance between work and down time, food, food and more yummy food, socializing and an overall comradery has been outstanding and I am honored to work with such an incredible crew.   
OK, time for some rest, tomorrow we travel two hours just to dive right into another temporary shelter.

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