Lamar Dixon Chronicles #19, #20 – Wrapping Up

I hope you got here from Lamar-Dixon Chronicles #18: Report from Lorrayne 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.

10/13/15: Lamar-Dixon Chronicles #19

So, now that you’ve gotten the current picture from Lorrayne, here are some more updates. First, I want to thank the people who joined us in our tribute to the travelers last weekend at Dixon. It was a small, fluid group and lots of fun. I brought my laptop and we were thus able to share not only the photos from my website that Wendy provided, but a video that Sarah had taken of the Lamar-Dixon facilities and activities. I’m going to see if I can figure out how to make that footage available on my website with some sort of streaming video format so the rest of you can see it too.

As I mentioned, Eric and Lorrayne have returned. Please send them some kind words if you get a chance. Eric has some pictures too and I’m looking to seeing and posting them. Lorrayne conveyed in her message some of the surreal sights they encountered during their journey. Eric specifically mentioned a boat on the side of the freeway – before last week, they would have naturally assumed it fell off a trailer. As the week evolved, they came to understand that it had been swept there by the surge and flooding and left behind when the water receded.  By the time they left, the sight didn’t even seem odd anymore, because it was fairly low-level on the list of visual horrors.

Cara and her three friends, affectionately known as “the girls”, arrived on Sunday. I suppose it’s time to give them names – Cara Callaway is accompanied by Hollis Jordan, Linda Tulley, and Gael Johnson.  They showed up in time to overlap with Eric and Lorrayne for two days and get the lay of the land. They also found themselves the unwitting beneficiaries of an amazing hospitality find. As Eric tells the story, they all benefited from Lorrayne’s caffeine fix one morning. Apparently, she was in need of a decent cup of coffee and started asking around at the shelter. She was guided to a coffee joint nearby. When she arrived, she also found a FEMA dining facility serving meals to the volunteers and workers in the area. That led to the discovery of a nearby shower facility, and then jackpot! The luxury party boat that FEMA had leased for housing. It was intended for the reconstruction workers, but since it hasn’t filled with them yet, Cara and her crew have been able to stay there for several nights. The availability changes day-by-day, and we’re not at all certain that they’ll be able to stay there. We haven’t given up the RV yet because we don’t want our travelers to be stranded.

I’ve received word from Kathleen Pantaze, one of our independent travelers, that Lamar-Dixon is just about shut down, and Raceland is not far behind.  Raceland is trying to find safe-haven for some of the more aggressive dogs they received. They have also reported some real success with positive reinforcement behavioral changes on some of these dogs. Hopefully, they’ll be able to find appropriate rescue organizations to relocate them. The Muttshack facility is still going strong, still receiving animals from the field, and Cara and the girls have been working very hard there doing kennel work. Cara reported that yesterday, they got a dog that had been tied to a dining room table. She had wrapped herself up completely in the rope so she couldn’t move, and the rope had dug in to her neck to the point it was perilously close to severing her jugular vein. She was skin and bones and obviously severely dehydrated, but after surgery and treatment, she is expected to  recover. Amazing.

Cara also reported that they have just opened up a new neighborhood that had previously been completely closed. So the national guard and other rescuers are going to start searching there as well. Not likely to have many successes, but we continue to be amazed by the ability of these animals to survive. She is also going to check on the Wynn-Dixie site tomorrow to see what they’re up to. Hollis, Linda and Gael leave on Saturday, but Deborah Dulaney is showing up on Sunday to join Cara for a week. Ginger Cutter is poised to go the following week – I’ve been holding off on committing to her for two reasons: first, I was hoping to find her a travel-mate (anybody interested?), and I was also waiting to confirm that there would be work for her to do. Cara seems confident that the work will be there, and she is going to get better estimates from both Muttshack and Wynn-Dixie tomorrow.

10/17/05: Lamar-Dixon Chronicles #20

Another shift change has occurred – Hollis, Linda and Gael returned home on Saturday, and Cara is coming home tomorrow. Deborah Dulaney arrived yesterday, and no time was wasted putting her to work. Despite a travel delay in Dallas and a late arrival at 6:00pm, she arrived at Muttshack just in time for the evening feeding and walking activities.

Our mission is also winding down – Deborah is our last scheduled traveler. That doesn’t mean there still isn’t plenty of work to do, it just means that our pool of volunteers has run dry. If you know ANYBODY who might be interested in going, we can certainly help with information and contacts, probably offer up a little money, and I even have a couple of air travel donors waiting in the wings. Here is the latest plea from Jane Garrison (the original coordinator from Lamar-Dixon), who is back in business after her feral cat bite incident and resultant hospital stay. This message was forwarded to me this morning.

From Jane Garrison: “WE STILL NEED HELP. I will pay the travel cost (airline or gas) for 10 people to get to New Orleans right away. Animal Control officers or Search and Rescue people are best. Please contact me at JaneGarrison@comcast.net  Thanks!”

Wendy was able to contact Jane by e-mail and get specific instructions on where and when to meet. Cara reported that Muttshack’s activities seem to have stabilized at a manageable level – they are still getting dogs in, but are also shipping them out so they only have a couple dozen dogs at this point and the full-time volunteers are able to handle them just fine. Based on this information, we have rerouted Deborah to Jane’s location – she will be attending the morning meeting at 7:30am tomorrow to get further instructions. She has also hooked up with a volunteer from Texas, so they will both be moving on from Muttshack.

Wendy was also able to find a vacancy in a newly-reopened hotel within easy range of all of our potential locations – it actually seems to be within walking distance of Jane Garrison’s operation. So we have turned in the RV (which was parked a considerable distance away) in favor of a much less expensive hotel room. The RV guy has been great – even though he probably won’t pick up the unit until later this week, he stopped charging us as of yesterday which is the day I left the message on his cell phone. If you ever need to rent an RV in the south, talk to Richard at the Outdoor Living Center at 800-828-2241.

We also got information that the Noah’s Wish shelter at nearby Slidell is still running full tilt with 1000 animals – even if that is a huge exaggeration, that’s still a lot of animals. So depending on what Deborah and her Texas pal learn at the meeting tomorrow, they may also check out Slidell to see where they will be best utilized. The field rescues, while still producing occasional miracles, are more and more likely to be heartbreaking. Nobody can really know how they would handle that until they try.

On a brighter note, Deborah told me another amazing success story. A pug was rescued and delivered alive today at Muttshack. This little dog had been trapped in the house, lifted up in the flood waters, and found what he assumed was a solid safe surface on top of the refrigerator. Unfortunately, when the flood waters receded, he didn’t recede with them. So there he was, perched on the fridge without food or water for SEVEN WEEKS. He was rescued today, nothing but skin and bones (and that is definitely not an exaggeration – you’ve no doubt seen pictures by now). But happy and joyful and so delighted to see people and be cared for. And imagine the owner who had completely given up hope. The resilience of these animals is truly remarkable, and of course the tendency of pugs to … ah … plumpness obviously worked well for this little guy.

I am so proud to be part of an effort that can result in stories like this, and even prouder of the volunteers who are really making it happen. Sorry if this is redundant, but I can’t say it enough – thanks to everyone who has contributed, supported, responded, and especially, traveled.

Next up: Lamar-Dixon Chronicles: Videos, Books and Blogs

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