Monday, November 30, 2009

A fighting chance

An update from UAN Emergency Services Manager Janell Matthies:

We are still fighting 24 hours a day to keep these horses alive. Some of them have given up, but we haven’t. I’m hoping to get some sleep tonight, pending no emergencies. Still unloading truckfull after truckfull of hay, utterly exhausting physically to add to the emotional exhaustion, but it’s been incredibly rewarding that everyone is still alive. We got some reinforcements today and hoping for more the rest of the week. More details will come as I slowly start to catch up...

Round-the-clock care

The UAN staff and EARS volunteers in Tennessee are literally working around the clock to care for 84 sick and starving horses rescued last week.

UAN's Emergency Services Manager Janell Matthies reports that she has been working night duty to feed a baby foal who’s mother is too malnourished to produce milk. Last night, Janell was at a local emergency surgery center with a baby donkey who suddenly took a turn for the worst.

Up until this point, all if the rescued animals have survived, thanks to the unwavering commitment and diligence of all the volunteers and organizations involved.

We'll post more updates from the field as we have them.

In the meantime, you can support our volunteers by making a donation to our Disaster Relief Fund.

You can also stay updated on the situation by becoming our fan on Facebook.

Friday, November 27, 2009

84 reasons for thanks

United Animal Nations (UAN) has deployed volunteers with its Emergency Animal Rescue Service (EARS) to care for 84 neglected horses rescued from a Cannon County, Tennessee property by The Humane Society of the United States and the Cannon County Sheriff’s Department.

The animals were all very emaciated and in poor condition. Some mothers are unable to produce milk for their foals because they are so ill and weak.

Ten EARS volunteers are spending their Thanksgiving weekend caring for the horses and nursing them back to health. As one EARS volunteer said, "What a better way to give thanks than to help someone else in need? I can't think of anything better to do."

We'll post more information and photos from this situation in the days to come. In the meantime, read our press release and watch this TV news coverage.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Making a huge difference for animals

Submitted by UAN Emergency Services Manager Janell Matthies

We have officially demobilized, leaving our new friends in the capable hands of the Labell-Laurentides SPCA. It was difficult leaving the last few guys there, but I know they will be off to much better lives this weekend.

I keep wondering if this is healthy for me, going from emotion to emotion so quickly on each deployment. First, experiencing the excitement, anxiety, worry and anticipation of a deployment. What condition will the dogs be in? Will we be able to help them all? What are we going to find when we get there?

Then, the whirl of activity as the seizure or rescue takes place and the dogs begin arriving at the shelter when you don’t have time to think. Triaging them, finding those who need immediate care, those who need some care and those who just need a lot of TLC is phase two of the emotional roller coaster. Then the falling in love bit. Getting to know so many of them, their quirks, their personalities. Names emerge, and we begin to accidentally get favorites. Next comes the bittersweet part of sending them off to the next chapter in their lives and saying goodbye. We know things will only get better and better for them, but they blossomed so extraordinarily in our care, it’s hard to not get attached.

Like I always say, if we weren’t getting attached to them, something is wrong with us. Now I’m going through my “post deployment blues." I’m so grateful for the opportunity to meet with and work with so many wonderful people, even more so for having helped so many dogs along one major step in improving their worlds, but sad to be saying goodbye.

One thought keeps lingering with me. I’ve heard a few comments that since they’re huskies, they don’t mind being out in the cold. Anyone who still thinks that has never given a husky a blanket. We always marvel at how much the little Chihuahuas and Maltese enjoy their blankies for the first time. Try a husky. At first it’s intense interest and curiosity. Touch it with the paw, sniff it, move it with the nose, sniff it, taste it (not so good), sniff it again. Then it usually takes about two minutes for them to get it bunched up and situated to their liking and plop, down they go, not moving again until the next meal time. I have never seen so many simultaneously, sleeping dogs before.

This was obviously yet another different type of deployment for the Emergency Animal Rescue Service. The volunteers proved their extraordinary compassion by doing the big things (walking dogs who were stronger than most of us combined and cleaning lots of poop) and the little things (covering the scared ones with blankets and giving them names). I am so proud to be part of this team, KNOWING we are making such a huge difference for so many animals who couldn’t have done it on their own.

Huskies en route to new homes!

Below is a list of organizations that are taking in the rescued huskies. Please contact the groups directly if you are interested in adopting or fostering one of these dogs. Thanks for your support and for caring about the animals!
  • Ulster County SPCA
  • Berks County Humane Society
  • York County SPCA
  • Humane Society of the Harrisburg Area
  • Animal Care Sanctuary
  • Lost Dog Rescue
  • Washington Animal Rescue League
  • BARK Rescue
  • Siberian Husky Rescue of Canada
  • SPCA of Western Quebec
  • Newfoundlander Rescue of Ontario
  • SPCA Laurentides-Labelle

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Nowhere we'd rather be

Submitted by UAN Emergency Services Manager Janell Matthies

Another beautiful sunny day in St Agathe. The dogs seem to be doing very well -- eating enthusiastically, drinking continually and finding new ways to bend their kennels so they can get out and run around. They have been keeping the volunteers very busy. Without a fenced-in area for walking dogs, we had to get creative today as many of the dogs won’t eliminate in their kennels.

We put two slip ties together to make a long leash, with one volunteer on each side of the strong dogs with their leashes and a “spotter” to help if needed and do clean up duty. All the dogs got to go outside, breathe the fresh air, and poop and pee to their hearts’ content. I originally had two people per dog in case of a leash slipping and wanted to make sure the dogs wouldn’t be able to run away. However, we realized the dogs, even the emaciated ones, would have overpowered most of us and we could be running back across the U.S. border if the dog so chose.

I know many folks are wondering, have I fallen for any this time? I can proudly say, "No." Okay, fine, yes I’m in love. “Tucson” (roughly translates in English to “chubby little kid”) is a ten-year- old blind, crazy dog. He doesn’t care that he can’t see and just barrels down the hallway leading me where ever he wants to go. Anytime anyone walks into his room he knocks his kennel around and “roo-roo”s so loudly it makes your ears ring. He continually makes confetti of his newspapers and has also gone through three kennels, bending up the bars at the bottom in the front so he can stick his feet out. That’s all he wants to do; he’s not trying to escape. He just wants his feet out. Nutty dog. But he already has a new home to look forward to: the director of Siberian Husky Rescue plans to give him a new and wonderful forever home herself. Yay!

The volunteers have been incredible as always, dedicating themselves to the dogs' care and never stopping to complain about the cold, the sore muscles, the hard floors or the aching backs. They are concentrating only on giving the dogs the best care possible and it shows. Many of the them are now napping in their kennels, awaiting dinner (the dogs, not the volunteers). They celebrate when one of the dogs finally pees and proudly tell each other graphic stories about their favorite dog’s poop. Being on deployment really is like being in another world, and as many of us have said, “there’s nowhere I’d rather be."

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Sled dogs: Lonely and starving no more

Submitted from Quebec by Janell Matthies, UAN Emergency Services Manager

All of the dogs were cut from their chains and moved to the temporary shelter yesterday. Half of the UAN team went into the field to help rescue the dogs and the other half remained at the shelter to prepare for and receive them. There is one “lone wolf” who wouldn’t allow himself to be caught, but every agency involved is committed to getting him and bringing him into the life of luxury that all of these dogs are headed for. It was an exhausting day for dogs and volunteers alike. Very chilly temperatures mixed with a lot of mud and years and years of feces, urine and trash made for a difficult morning.

The dogs were very vocal when the group showed up to take them out of the woods. I think they could tell we were there to save them from a life of loneliness and starvation. Now, in the temporary shelter, if they get riled up and start “singing” we just have to say “sssssshhhhhh,” and they automatically quiet down. This has been thoroughly entertaining to the volunteers as we all vie to be the “shusher.” It adds a little bit of comedic relief to our day.

I will send more pictures and stories later today as we get to know these sweet dogs. They are just desperate for attention and looking forward to lunchtime very much.

Top photo courtesy The HSUS

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Misery ends for rescued sled dogs

Today, UAN Emergency Services Manager Janell Matthies and 12 Emergency Animal Rescue Service (EARS) volunteers ended a miserable existence for approximately 100 sled dogs in Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts, Quebec.

UAN is supporting Humane Society International and the SPCA Laurentides-Labelle, which partnered to rescue the neglected dogs. The owner was unable to care properly for his dogs and released them to the care of the SPCA LL.

The dogs were chained outside without regular access to adequate food, clean water or shelter. About 30 of the rescued dogs are pregnant. EARS volunteers are helping HSI and the SPCA LL care for the dogs at a temporary emergency shelter in Val-Morin. All of the dogs will receive veterinary treatment, food, water and care, and then brought to rescue groups in Canada and in the United States, where they will be sterilized and adopted into loving homes.

Please check back for periodic updates and photos from Quebec.

Photos this post courtesy Karla Goodson/HSUS.