Saturday, March 5, 2011

En route to freedom and love

Submitted by EARS volunteer Tereza Marks of Bonita Springs, Florida
UAN volunteers carry a crate to the truck
Yesterday more than 40 dogs and 3 cats left the temporary shelter in Dothan, Alabama to find their forever homes. The Montgomery Humane Society took the dogs to their facility. They came early in the morning and EARS volunteers worked with their staff and HSUS to get the animals crated and on the truck. A local rescue group, Wiregrass Humane Society, took three of the cats for adoption. 

UAN Emergency Services Manager
says goodbye to Stubby
Many of the EARS volunteers were emotional about seeing some of their favorite animals go.  Stubby, a volunteer favorite, is a yellow Lab who paced around her cage holding her "baby" in her mouth. She was named Stubby because, although she appeared to be a purebred yellow Lab, she had a stubby tail more like that of an Australian Shepherd. When Stubby was loaded into her crate,  she went with her toy and a note saying "please let her keep her toy." Montgomery Humane Society staff assured us that she would be allowed to do so. Amanda, a UAN volunteer from Athens, Georgia said she had to put up an emotional block when Stubby went because she reminded her so much of a yellow Lab she used to have who carried a blanket in her mouth just like Stubby carries her toy.

A bulldog who was previously tied
up outside awaits his ride
to Montgomery Humane Society. 
Carol, EARS volunteer from Tampa, Florida also saw one of her favorites go today: Hunk, a Catahoula leopard dog mix.  She said she felt so much pride that she was able to help a dog like him go from a horrible life to a new, happy one. This was her first deployment with UAN and she said she would deploy again whenever she is asked. Although she has lots of disaster response experience, she said she was really impressed with the way the shelter was run and her fellow volunteers. Carol thinks everyone should help in a response like this because not ony did she feel grateful that she was able to help, but she also learned a lot about herself.

One volunteer said something that touched me: "These dogs will eventually know freedom for the first time in their lives." Although the journey may be scary to them -- going from chain to crate in a temporary shelter to crate on a truck and finally to a shelter for adoption -- these dogs are now only one step away from their forever homes. Today, 70 more dogs will be on their way to shelters throughout Florida -- and to freedom and love.

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