Lamar-Dixon Chronicles: The Story Begins

I hope you got here from Lamar-Dixon Chronicles: Introduction so you have some context. If not, I suggest you go back. Each episode links to the next for continuity.

9/13/05: The Original Appeal (posted on the AgileDogs list)

An appeal for help — We are running on empty here in South Louisiana and Gulf Coast animal rescue work and need volunteer help!

Veterinarians and vet techs are needed urgently at the Lamar-Dixon Center in Gonzalez, Louisiana. We also need vets and techs to relieve  the staff at the LSU Hurricane Animal Shelter. Animals arriving at Lamar  Dixon — those most recently rescued –  need people experienced with rehydration and re-feeding, also need rehydration supplies (fluids, etc) and refeeding supplies (Science Diet a/d, etc.)

If you are an  experienced animal rescue worker, shelter worker, shelter volunteer, or an  experienced amateur animal handler who is willing to scrub cages and so forth, you are needed for animal care at Lamar-Dixon. They are desperate for help. This is get-down-and-dirty work. Non-professional volunteers, please realize that this is VERY hard, dirty work. Not a situation to bring little kids to cuddle the  kittens. There will be time for that later. Right now we just  need the animals washed, clean cages, feeding and watering. Please also contact any professional humane officers you know or your local animal  control agency and urge them to send at least one officer to help with our efforts.

9/16/05: E-mail to the Bay Team membership list

BT Members going to Louisiana

Our own Sandy Rogers and Sarah Johnson, along with Wendy Vogelgesang from Southern California, are putting aside their personal and professional lives for a week to volunteer at an animal shelter in Louisiana. They are doing this all on their own financially, with no assistance from any organizations. All have managed to wrangle free flights using mileage awards, but they will have considerable expenses in addition – rental car, motorhome rental (so they have a place to stay), gas, food, inoculations, who knows what else. Not to mention lost revenue from the time away from their livelihoods.

This all started when Sandy and I were talking at the Labor Day trial, and I expressed my feeling of helplessness that I couldn’t do anything for the abandoned animals other than throw money at the organizations that are doing the work. She went one step further and said that she was even thinking about trying to go there just to help out – even if that meant scrubbing crates all day. The next day, I saw an appeal for exactly that type of help posted on the AgileDogs list [see above] and forwarded it to her. The next thing I knew, Wendy had posted a notice on the list saying that she and Sandy were going, and could anybody hook them up with an RV or trailer to stay in. Sarah got involved when I called her to say we needed to help them out with some funding – her response was “help them, hell I’m going too.”

When they actually started calculating the cost of the trip, they called the volunteer coordinator and asked if the money would be better spent if they just sent a check. To their surprise, the answer was a vehement NO – apparently the shelters have supplies, they need bodies. That clinched the decision.

I applaud these three because they’re actually doing what I wish I could do. They are all nervous and more than a little scared – after all, they are going into unknown territory with unknown mayhem to do unknown chores amid unknown horror. They will not return the same people as when they left. I can’t go with them, but I can throw a little money their way to help offset their expenses and revenue losses.

I know that many you have already shown tremendous generosity to the various organizations that I’ve posted previously, in addition to the fundraisers at the Bay Team trial. But if you have any more to spare to help them out, I know that they would be very grateful. Everything they get will go to their expenses, and if there is anything left, they will give it to whatever facilities they feel need it the most. After all, they’ll be able to see who needs it first-hand.  Obviously this isn’t tax-deductible, but that’s not going to stop me from reaching out.

Sarah and Sandy will both be at the VAST trial this weekend. If you slip one of them a $5, a $10, a $20 or a check for more, they will not turn it down and it will go directly into the pot. I’ll be at the SFDrake AKC trial helping out Wendy Gurney on and off this weekend, so you can do the same there – leave it with me or Wendy.  If you would rather use Paypal, I’ll open my account for collecting – just let me know and I’ll give you the account ID. If you think of another way to contribute (like sending a check directly to Sandy), that’ll work too.  I know this isn’t a coordinated effort, but we’ll figure out a way to get them the money. My goal is to not have this trip cost them a dime, and to let them leave a 3- or 4-figure amount behind to the groups that really need it.

Finally, Sandy wants to take a decent supply of leather slip leads – 1/2″ x 4-6′ or so. If you have one to donate to the cause, see if you can get it to VAST or AKC this weekend.

9/19/05: E-mail to the Bay Team membership

Lamar-Dixon Volunteer Mission update

The first contingent of volunteers (Sandy and Wendy) leaves tomorrow, and Sarah follows on Wednesday morning.  All three of them are scurrying around today picking up last-minute supplies, maps, etc.  Delivery of the rental RV has been confirmed so at this point, all systems are go.  Sarah’s cell phone also sends and receives e-mail [wow, remember when this was a big thing?], so hopefully they’ll be able to send me periodic updates. They won’t be eloquent or long, as she’ll be thumb-typing, and who knows what sort of connectivity they’ll have, but any information is better than none.

Any lingering reservations they had about going have been eliminated as we’ve gotten more information about the Lamar-Dixon shelter.

The first question, would the money be better spent elsewhere, has already been answered – they have plenty of supplies and money, they need bodies.  At last report, there were 2000+ animals and only 250 volunteers. As the situation has evolved and stabilized (if you can call it that), Lamar-Dixon is now the primary intake center for the hundreds of rescues that are still showing up every day. Owners that are missing pets are being told just to go there and look for them, which means that some of the volunteers are undoubtedly helping those distraught owners as well as the animals. From there, after being examined, cleaned up, treated and photographed, some of the animals are being transferred to other shelters as space becomes available.

The second question, should they hook up with a national organization such as Best Friends or Noah’s Wish rather than showing up as independents, has also been answered – those two organizations are well-staffed and working at other shelters, such as the one in Mississippi that was highlighted on Dateline last night. Lamar-Dixon is still hurting for bodies.

And I’m sure those of you who saw that Dateline segment will agree that the reward of the reunions is worth every penny and every bit of energy that they (and you) are putting into this. I recently read an account at one shelter that the reunions are just now starting to outnumber the intakes. That’s very encouraging news.

Fundraising status: at this time, we expect that their expenses will approach $3,000. So far, as a result of the generosity at the VAST and SFD AKC trials, the contribution from Everything 4 Paws, and contributions from personal friends outside of agility, we have raised just over $2,000. GREAT JOB!!! I love this community. I’m hoping that we can get some more vendors to jump on the bandwagon, and that those of you who missed the message at VAST and AKC will stop by the E4P booth at TRACS and toss a buck or two into the jar.

Next up: Lamar-Dixon Chronicles #1: Getting Settled 

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