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.

1 comment:

  1. Traci Dawson11/21/09, 6:05 AM

    Janell, I would like to thank you and all the other UAN volunteers, this has been my 4th deployment with UAN and as usual it was an extremely positive experience. Your leadership was impeccable and it was great to work with familiar faces, and meeting other volunteers that I have never worked with before. BTW, Laurie is a great roommate.

    Thank you to HSUS for coming to our rescue again here in Canada, we couldn't have done it without UAN or HSUS's help.
    It was an absolute pleasure working with everyone and thank you.

    Traci Dawson

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