Local completes rescue mission
Vail, CO Colorado
We didn’t really appreciate all the rain until today ” it was 90 degrees, sunny and very humid. At first we were excited about the sun, but that did not last long. We had about three hours of sleep and we were losing three of our team members who had to leave for New Orleans.
The Rescue Rig was also getting ready to leave, so we would be staying in a hotel for the remainder of the deployment. I went to care for all of the livestock before helping with the dogs.
A man from a local rescue group arrived to pick up the goats and someone was coming later for all the rodents! We were very excited about that! Unfortunately, the man was scared of the llama so I had to catch and load the five goats first. After he saw that the llama did not seem bothered he came in to help catch the last billy goat. I felt bad that the llama was left alone.
We had many local volunteers caring for the dogs that we finished quickly. Todd and I had to get all the rodent’s paperwork prepared for them so they could move to a local shelter. The rodent cages were the only cages from the scene itself and despite Barbara’s cleaning efforts, they still reeked.
I started with one of the guinea pig cages and there was a little fuzzy thing outside of the cage on the ground and another one inside. I did a double take and realized they were two newborn guinea pigs. There were six adults in the cage so we had to figure out who the mother was. We loaded up all of the rodents and they were ready to go to their new shelter.
We had our second dog bite today from one of the rat terriers. It was a local volunteer who grabbed a fearful dog. He had to go into quarantine. After that we decided that only American Humane team members could handle the dogs and local volunteers would have to go through a screening process to qualify to handle them. It was a good precaution because there were no more bites after that.
A fowl rescue group came and took the chickens, ducks and the goose to foster care. I missed them leaving and I was a little disappointed that I did not get to say “goodbye.” I knew they were going to be well cared for at the foster home, though.
Now all that were left were the dogs, cats, bunnies, and the llama. Thanks to all of the local help, we were able to finish by 8 p.m. Several local groomers came in and shaved and bathed all of the dogs! This helped the dogs get quiet and relaxed, and they certainly smelled a lot better!
We all went out to dinner and looked forward to a good night’s sleep.
This morning I felt refreshed. We had lots of volunteers show up to help. This was going to be my last day. I took care of the llama and the bunnies. About an hour later I went to check on the llama and he was on his way to foster care. I did not get to say goodbye to him either. I’m sure he was really looking forward to the company of other llamas. All but six of the rabbits went into foster care today as well.
We were really cruising along because of all the volunteer help with the dogs. Today we decided to feed the different groups of dogs together under supervision, instead of separating them. We only had two arguments out of all the groups, so that made things a lot easier in the feeding process. We even fed the group of seven all together in their pen.
All of a sudden I came down with a fever after lunch. We already had two sick team members, so I was put on time-out for a couple of hours. I had the chills, even though it was 90 degrees and sunny. The fever broke a couple hours later and I felt fine again and went back to work.
We now had permission to walk all of the dogs outside. I was sitting working with one of the fearful “caution dogs” when one of team members yelled my name and pointed behind me. I turned around and saw two of the local volunteers walking a big husky with two slip leashes on both sides of the dog. They had walked the dog through the caution tape and he was in a full-blown panic, with the leashes on either side of him constricting him even more and making it worse.
He began whipping his head around and snapping. As I started running one of the volunteers started to grab the dog from behind so I yelled for them to get their hands off the dog. I slid to the ground by the dog and had the volunteers hand me both leashes so I could put them on one side of the dog and I told them to back away.
The dog started calming down now that he was not being constricted from both sides and then he did the funniest thing – he jumped in my lap and leaned against me and tucked his head underneath my arm. We sat that way for about five minutes – not the most pleasant thing when a dog weighs 80 pounds. He finally got off my lap and his breathing had slowed down.
We then went for a walk and he was fine with the leash around his neck. For the second time, I apologized to the volunteers for yelling, but explained it was for their safety. They were very grateful that I had shown up because they did not know how to handle the incident.
We finished cleaning and feeding by 8 p.m. The Rescue Rig was gone so a team of local volunteers came at 8 p.m. to act as security for all the animals. I said goodbye to all of our local volunteers. We went to dinner and then to the hotel where we were staying since the Rig was on its way to New Orleans.
I have learned that it is far too emotional to say goodbye to the animals when leaving a deployment, so I just walked out when we were done that night. I knew I would be flying home in the morning and they would be well cared for by the team members that remained and the 10-member replacement team arriving on Monday, including one of my volunteers, J.P. Kacy, on her first deployment with American Humane’s Red Star Team.
Eagle Valley Humane Society Director Char Quinn shares her journal from her trip to North Carolina to rescue 200 animals ” including dogs, horses, guinea pigs, sugar gliders and a llama ” that had been “hoarded” on a single property.
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