Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A new shelter location deployment

This morning me and my makeshift posse’ of ten headed outa Memphis north on the highway, letting our GPS guide us to a small town in Missouri, where there we were to find our way to the next shelter that we were reassigned to.
It was a two hour drive and our two car caravan left around 8am. Warm sun and receding flood tides met us along Interstate 55. We saw complete farms filled with river water, power lines sunken mid-way in murky brown-ness and evacuated homes; this was the scenery that became a visual for much of our ride.
Conversation in the Ford F250 Super Duty pick up truck strayed from general joking to more somber topics like the sadness many of us felt for the struggles that the locals must be suffering through.
Before we knew it, we had arrived. How our GPS was able to find the tiny little dirt road leading to our destination of a fairground now turned into an emergency shelter was nothing short of a miracle.
We were given our walking papers from our Incident Commander and told to report two miles down, where the majority of the animals were. Our current location was set up for cats and a few horses. It was amazingly well organized and not in need of us. They told us the dogs, about 60 plus and down from a few hundred were the neediest of new staffing.
Phasing workers in and out with weekly rotations seems to be a pretty stringent procedure. It keeps the emotional risks of compassion fatigue down and allows for fresh workers to replace the tired and worn out crew.
Once we made our way to our next destination we had a briefing and were assigned our duties for the remainder of the week. We are the lucky crew, it seems the overall combined shelter numbers have dwindled from about 500 animals to just fewer than 150. Most have been reclaimed by their once displaced owners after they were able to get back into their previously water ransacked homes.
So there we went, back to hard, but rewarding work, cleaning, walking, feeding and generally adoring the critters we are lucky enough to have in our temporary charge.
I won’t bore you with the evening debrief, or how I found my way to a fabulous Mexican restaurant to plop my worn out body down in to write this blog, or how my one Sangria and vegetarian dinner helped me unwind from the day’s events.
More to come tomorrow, if I am not to ‘pooped’; and yes, the pun was intended.
G’nite ya’all!   (said in a Southern drawl)

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