Lamar-Dixon Chronicles #14 – More Changes

I hope you got here from Lamar-Dixon Chronicles #12, #13: Saves! so you have some context. If not, I suggest you go back to the beginning (Lamar-Dixon Chronicles: Introduction). Each episode links to the next for continuity.

10/3/05: Lamar-Dixon Chronicles #14

Every day since this saga began, I’ve wondered during the day what I could possibly have to write about that evening. Overall the news is the same every day – undaunted volunteers performing unending work in unrelenting heat/humidity under uncertain circumstances amidst unimaginable devastation and unspeakable horror. How’s that for a bit of really crappy prose?  And then just as I start wondering “do people really care about these updates?”, I get responses in my mailbox saying “thanks for sending these, I look forward to them every night.”  It’s starting to feel like a soap opera.  So as long as there continues to be news worth reporting, I’ll keep sending the updates. Please let me know if you get tired of them.

Eric and Lorrayne arrived yesterday and wasted no time getting completely immersed in the operation. From Wendy (Eric’s wife), I learned that rather than unwinding and resting from his 12-hour overnight red-eye 3-leg flight, Eric spent his first day “sweeping out barns and then catching up on filing and learning their software so people and animals can find each other.” She also reported that “30+ people arrived from Massachusetts today to help at Lamar-Dixon, so Eric and Lorrayne will decide after the 5:30 morning meeting if they would be of greater service elsewhere”. Before they left, I had sent them advice from Sandy – according to her, if they really want to find out what’s going on, they should “get their asses out of bed and go to the 5:30am rescue meeting”.

I guess they followed that advice and made a decision – from Sandy I heard that Eric and Lorrayne went straight to the field this morning to do rescues, presumably learning the ropes from Jill Moran, who was Sandy’s partner in the field most of last week. Unfortunately, based on an update I just received from Wendy, the data entry supporting the field effort continues to lag behind the actual work of the crews, and they were once again faced with a day full of redundant visits, one grim scene, and a couple of reasonably healthy dogs living under a house who refused to be captured. Eric may decide to stick around and help the database update crew.

Sandy also reported that Jane (the volunteer coordinator) was successful in finding a new place to house the shelter now that they have been asked to leave Lamar-Dixon. Apparently, they found a nice farm and they have already started relocating dogs and supplies. But Wendy reports that the new site doesn’t including camping accommodations for the volunteers so there are still some loose ends. I’ll update as I get more information – obviously, this is very important for the six volunteers who are leaving at the end of this week.  We’re also researching the possibility of moving them to different shelters – if you have any information (preferably current and first-hand) on locations in need of assistance, please let me know – they’re ready to mobilize at the drop of a hat to anywhere they can be most useful.

Returning volunteer update: Now that our first round of volunteers have returned, we’re starting to get a feel for two things: how they have changed, and how the world responds. Here are the bullet points – I’m not going to go into any more detail.

  • They have been profoundly affected by their experiences and will never be quite the same people as when they left.
  • They have a completely new set of priorities – “don’t sweat the small stuff” has taken on a whole new meaning.
  • They are finding that many people don’t really want to know what they (or other) have been through or what it’s like down there. And even the ones who do want to know and are willing to listen can’t possibly quite “get” it.

Outbound volunteer update: I talked to Cara this morning – she is SO grateful to those who contributed air miles so she and her friends could travel – it wouldn’t have been possible otherwise. In addition, thanks to word of mouth, we now have more volunteers checking in daily – just today, one from Berkeley and perhaps a friend of Carolyn Allen’s from Minnesota. Some of this new batch of volunteers has actually done their own fundraising and air miles collection and are looking to us just for guidance and logistical help. It seems that we are becoming a clearinghouse of information for grass-roots volunteers!

Financial update: I came home today to find $1825 in my mailbox. $625 I was expecting – it was a consolidation from fundraising in SoCal. $500 was from Peter, one of my oldest and dearest friends, who has nothing to do with agility but loves animals and is just glad to contribute somehow. And $700 was from people who had written and said “how can I help?”.  We will keep sending people as long as we have volunteers, money and air miles to do so. I will be at the Haute-Dawgs trial in Dixon this week, and will have all of the paperwork on what we have collected and what we have spent and anticipate spending. If anybody wants to see, the books will be open.

Speaking of the Haute-Dawgs trial, Sandy and Sarah will be there too – please give both of them hugs when you see them. I’m planning to bring a truckload of wine and host a cocktail party at Sarah’s motorhome on Saturday night.  BYOC (chairs) and BYOS (snacks).  We will raise a glass or two to the volunteers (coming and going), and also to the contributors who have made this all possible.  It’ll be easy to find – look for a Class A Allegro, license plate “FIT DOGS”, with all the people hanging around. Perhaps Wendy Gurney will bring her contribution jug as well.

Next up: Lamar-Dixon Chronicles #15: More Saves and Working to Reunite 

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