Sunday, February 21, 2010

Changing at a moment's notice

Submitted by Janell Matthies, UAN Emergency Services Manager

At the EARS volunteer training workshop, one of the themes covered is how volunteers should be ready for anything: “Be ready for circumstances to change at a moment’s notice," “be flexible," “be prepared for anything.” Well, today was a perfect example of that concept in a real deployment.

We got to the shelter at 8 a.m. and began our usual morning duties. The dogs have quickly adjusted to their new schedule; everything was very Zen as we went about our day calmly and quietly.

Then a Sheriff’s officer walked in. Another dog fight, in progress, just down the road, and since you’re already here ... you can guess the rest. The volunteers quickly and efficiently helped the ASPCA staff gather what was needed and they set off with one of the UAN vet tech volunteers, Jasmine (pictured at right). From having learned the hard way, we knew we should probably be prepared, just in case. Our wonderful, calm schedule was quickly dumped and we went into work mode. Build more kennels, figure out what kind of equipment and hardware we still needed, where to get it (apparently all hardware stores close at noon on Saturdays), figure out how to keep these dogs separate from those from the first seizure, then figure out how to keep these dogs separate from each other... and boom! After working non-stop for eight hours, the volunteers had a perfect Emergency Shelter #2 set up.

The dogs came in. They were in better condition than the first group health-wise, but they had obvious recent fight wounds. They were quickly processed and fell asleep, curled up on their soft wood shaving beds. Whew!

As always, the volunteers just rolled with it, not a single complaint, never a feeling of panic or crisis. The job just got done. Lunch break came a bit late for us today (5 p.m.) and we’re pretty much done in, but at least we know these dogs will not have to fight another day. I’ve said it before, but today I felt it to an extreme level: It was a good day’s work.

Oh, and of course what deployment would be complete if we didn’t take in some sort of unexpected critter? More on Pecky Polly, the chicken with an eye injury, later.


  1. Bless all of your hearts! You were at the right place at the right time. RED SHIRTS ROCK! As usual, you all hit the ground running! Will there be a prosecution following the 2nd seizure?

  2. What an amazing thing you've all been going--truly a blessed gift that you have this unconditional and tireless love for animals. God Bless you all!

  3. Wow. What a rollercoaster deployment. This one will rank up there with the other hard-to-decompress-from ones. Keep up the wonderful chances you are giving these pooches!


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