Wednesday, June 29, 2011

RedRover volunteer veterinarian provides much needed care

Orphaned kitten meets
orphaned fawn at
Dr. Trexler-Myren's office.
Submitted by RedRover Responders volunteer Debbie Ferguson of Kildeer, Illinois

You never know what you are going to be asked to do when deploying with RedRover Responders. Autumn Chrouser will gladly attest to that after her last deployment to Pierre, South Dakota this past week. She deployed along with two other RedRover Responders to help care for the animals that had been displaced by flooding from the rising Missouri River.

We met at 6:45 a.m. in the lobby of our hotel, just one short block from the river, to make our way to the airplane hangar where we were housing about 100 animals, primarily cats and dogs. Upon arriving we took each dog out for a very much needed morning walk, then proceeded to get all the animals fed, watered, and clean kennels. Autumn jumped in like everyone else. After we finished our morning chores, we sat down and began talking before the next round of dog walks were due. When asked what she did, she revealed that she had just become a licensed veterinarian and was waiting on word on a potential position she was very interested in. As we had no staff veterinarian at the shelter, we knew this was fate! As soon as word got out, her skills were in high demand. After being asked to examine a number of animals with minor issues, she quickly identified a life-threatening disease in one of our cats, who was then immediately transported to Dr.Virginia Trexler-Myren, the local veterinarian we had been using for emergency treatment.

Dr. Trexler-Myren anesthetizes
a kitten as RedRover volunteer
Dr. Autumn Chrouser looks on.
 Autumn, who lives in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, was thrilled to be using her education and skills, but continued assisting with the everyday duties of walking, feeding and cleaning in between her new vet duties, and even handled some of the strongest dogs, one of whom almost pulled her hip out of joint with his strength. It was about that time that we received six feral kittens trapped near the shelter by an airport employee. Approximately three to four months old and quite fearful, they entered our cat room and we began the socialization process. We saw very quickly that it wouldn’t take long to gain their trust, but were concerned about finding homes for them in an area reeling from loss. We felt we would have a better chance of getting a local shelter to take them on if they were all spayed/neutered, so it seemed a perfect opportunity for Autumn to use her surgical skills. We just needed to find someone to provide the tools and space for her to perform the surgery. In came Dr. Trexler-Myren. She readily agreed to provide the space and all of the necessary tools and medications for all six cats if we would be willing to pay a small fee to cover her overhead. RedRover immediately agreed to take care of the expense, and Autumn went to work, with Dr. Trexler-Myren overseeing the surgeries.

Dr. Chrouser examines the
incision on a kitten spayed
a day earlier.
 As a newly licensed veterinarian, I expected Autumn to show some nervousness, but she showed the confidence, precision and skills of an experienced veterinarian throughout the entire procedure. She and Dr. Trexler-Myren shared tips and techniques throughout the day, both coming away from the experience with increased knowledge and insights.

I am happy to report that all six kittens came out of surgery successfully. We brought them back to some very comfortable beds in a clean and sterile environment within our shelter and settled them in for the night. Autumn stayed until she was certain all six kittens were showing no signs of distress, and returned early the next morning to examine each of them. All were in fine shape, with clean and healthy incision sites and no signs of any negative impact. In fact, the additional handling seemed to have made them even more accustomed to humans and their fear had lessened considerably, giving us confidence that they would all be adopted into loving homes very soon.

Thanks to Autumn (or, I should say, Dr. Chrouser) and Dr. Trexler-Myren, six cats will not be able to reproduce more kittens to crowd the already over-filled animal shelters across the United States. Instead, they will have an excellent chance of living comfortable and healthy lives with loving families.

Dr. Chrouser socializes one of her patients.
Dr. Chrouser plans on deploying with RedRover again, and it doesn’t matter to her whether it is in the capacity of veterinarian or kennel worker. She just wants to help animals in need and that is what is going to make her a great veterinarian. Sioux Falls is very lucky to have her as part of their community.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Flood shelter in Pierre, South Dakota

Submitted by RedRover Responders volunteer Debbie Ferguson of Kildeer, Illinois

One of many houses flooded
in Pierre, South Dakota

Across the nation Mother Nature has been unleashing her fury; from tornados, to wildfires, to flooding, she is wreaking havoc on land, people and animals alike. And the RedRover Responders have been deploying almost non-stop, trying to make life just a little bit more bearable for the people who have lost their homes and for some, their loved ones, by helping to care for their pets while they try to rebuild their lives. We see the pictures on the nightly news and our hearts break for those who have lost so much, while we are amazed at their resiliency and their will to move on. And then we turn off the TV and go to sleep, comfortable in our own intact homes and in our own beds with our beloved families and pets nearby. Sweet dreams...

I am ashamed to say that is how I reacted until I participated in several disaster responses as a RedRover Responder in the past couple of months. To see the destruction and the emotional toll in pictures or on video is one thing; to see it in person is another; to meet someone who is going through the loss is a whole new ballgame, one that changes you forever. That is what happened to me this past week in Pierre, South Dakota.

Amy Green holds two
tiny rescued kittens.

I spent the past few days, along with two other RedRover Responders assisting in caring for animals displaced by flooding or by forced evacuations due to the rising Missouri River. We had approximately 100 animals; dogs, cats, chinchillas, rabbits, chickens and even a goldfish. I assumed we would be far removed from the threat of flooding, so I was surprised on landing in Pierre (in a torrential downpour, by the way) that the road to our hotel was closed due to flooding, and after finding a round-a-bout way to get there, saw sandbags stacked up all around the hotel in an attempt to keep the water from creeping any closer to the building. That was when I first realized the fear the people in this community were experiencing. Needless to say, I didn’t sleep well, but made my way to the temporary shelter the next morning and began tending to the animals that had been left in our care. As the day wore on and the rain continued, the threat of further flooding increased. It was then that I met Denice Felker and her three Schnauzers – Tasha, Teddy and Pepper.

We were getting ready to get the animals settled in for the evening when we received a call from a local emergency services organization asking if we had room to house more animals. We assured her we did and that we would be happy to stay until they arrived. Shortly after, Denice and her schnauzers arrived. She had been given minutes to evacuate her home in Fort Pierre as the river crept closer and closer. She was terrified of losing her home, but even more terrified of leaving her “kids.” But her choices were limited so she came to us.

With tears flowing, she shared her fears of losing everything, and of trying to rebuild what was left on her own, but her biggest worry was leaving her babies. The three dogs obviously knew something was wrong as all three were clinging to her and whimpering.

Amy comforts and calms Jasmine.
We all choked back tears as we assured her we would take very good care of her babies and give them as much love and attention as possible. We weren’t sure when we would see Denice again, but knew she wouldn’t and couldn’t stay away long.

The following day, as all of our dogs were taking their afternoon naps and everything was quiet, Denice walked in. I approached her right away, happy she was able to come and visit her babies, and then thrilled when she told me she was taking them home! I told her how happy I was that she had suffered no damage and was able to move back home. And then I felt awful as her eyes again filled up with tears and she told me that her home was sitting in several inches of water and she wasn’t sure what to do or who to call for help. But in the same breath, she told me how grateful she was that we had been here for her and her babies at the moment they needed us. And I felt so honored that she trusted us to take care of the three loves of her life while she figured out her next moves. And witnessing her strength of character I had no doubt her next moves would be winning moves.

Denice is reunited with her Schnauzers.

But the best part of this story is the reunion! I have never heard or seen three dogs so happy to see their person. We couldn't get them out of their kennel fast enough! When we were able to round them up they leapt into her arms and covered her with kisses for at least 10 minutes! They kissed her, they kissed us, and they kissed each other! And then it started all over again!

Once things calmed down, I asked Denice where she would be living while her home was being repaired and she told me she and her babies would be returning home. I was concerned, knowing the dangers of living in a home that had suffered that kind of damage, and worried about how her dogs would adapt, but she responded with such a simple and amazing statement; "they may not have a yard, but they have me...and I have them. We’ll figure it out together."

And now this story gets even better... As we were talking, one of the local volunteers overheard Denice talking about her concerns. I had seen Michelle Jones each day but with our jam-packed days hadn't had a chance to get to know her. She approached us and gave Denice the name and number of the Civil Air Patrol, who she said would be willing to send cadets out to assist her with any labor needed. She then described how they had been helping her and her husband since they had been forced to evacuate their home a month ago and how she was planning on calling on them again since the waters had finally reached her home in the past week.

Flood victim Michele holds
her favorite cat.

 I was stunned! Here was a woman whose home was possibly ruined, and she had spent the past ten days (as I discovered from the volunteer logbook) volunteering her time to help care for the displaced animals of her neighbors! Though she downplayed her selflessness by saying it helped keep her mind off of her problems, I couldn't help but wonder how many people would spend their time volunteering their services to those impacted by such a disaster when they were facing their own disaster, and I realized that I was in the company of not just one, but two very strong and special women. Humbled and inspired, I knew that those of us listening to their stories would be better people for having met them, and would never again turn off the nightly news and sleep soundly after hearing of another natural disaster displacing people and animals without making plans to do something to help.

 I am so thankful for all of our RedRover Responders, especially those who have deployed in the last few natural disasters, for helping people like Denice know that there is someone in their corner who is looking out for them and their animals in their time of need. After witnessing the after-effects of these devastating disasters first hand, and seeing the results of the different reactions to the disaster, I am hopeful that if we are ever faced with similar situations we will be able to deal with them with as much strength and gratitude as Denice, and with as much compassion and selflessness as Michelle.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Janell, we love you!

Submitted by RedRover Responders volunteer Beth Gammie of Tallahassee, Florida 

How does one person manage the controlled chaos of emergency animal rescue -- from partnering with other agencies and local government officials, to ensuring the animals receive great care under difficult conditions, to handling emergency animal medical care, to leading teams of volunteers and to solving animal behavior issues? If you are Janell Matthies, Emergency Services Manager for RedRover, formerly United Animal Nations, it's done with a great deal of grace, skill and heart.

Janell works with Juliet, a very frightened
dog, during a recent response in Arizona.
Photo: Marcia Goodman
Janell amazed volunteers with her ability to remain calm in a crisis while juggling multiple demands. Volunteer Marcia Goodman worked with Janell on a number of deployments, and was struck by her grace under pressure. "I remember once at the recent Arizona rescue while she was in a kennel with a dog who was shut down, she received an emergency phone call regarding the rescue," Marcia says. "Moments later, while still on the phone, she was approached by a volunteer with a question. With a smile she calmly interrupted the volunteer with, 'Does this need my attention this moment, or can it wait?'" 

Janell and Duke, a dog rescued from
neglect in Arizona. Photo: Marcia Goodman 

This ability to prioritize under pressure, and make good decisions for the animals, while remaining so unflappable, is something we all came to expect from Janell. And she always delivered.

Jennifer Johnston called Janell a "rock star" for being such an amazing leader. Jennifer recently worked on the cat-hoarding rescue here in Florida and said, "This is my first deployment since training and I feel so lucky to have had the chance to work with Janell. She shared her experience and insight, was patient while I got the hang of things, and managed to look out for the needs of the volunteers while doing everything she could for the animals."

Janell and Daisy, a pig rescued in Arizona.
Photo: Marcia Goodman
Janell's compassion for the animals she works to rescue is clear to any volunteer who has worked with her. The animals' well-being is her priority, and her love for them showed up in many ways. Janell crawled into a kennel with a dog in distress to comfort the animal. She dropped what she was doing to deal with medical concerns volunteers have for the a sick animal. She cuddled with a 650 pound rescued pig with pure delight. Animals under Janell's care just knew she loved them.

No one on deployment worked harder than Janell. She was the first on site in the morning, and the last to leave--and was in motion the whole time. How she was able to keep up such non-stop energy was a mystery to volunteers. I, for one, suspect Janel may actually be fueled by a uranium pellet.

Janell taking a rare break at the
temporary shelter in Florida, where she
tended to 700 cats, many with serious
health problems. Photo: Beth Gammie
Janell will be leaving RedRover to do similar work for another animal organization. We will miss her, but know that our paths will cross during our efforts to bring animals from crisis to care. 
From all the volunteers, Janell, we want you to know how much we appreciate you. From your goofy sense of humor, to the things you taught us about animal care, to your freaky sense of calm in a crisis -- you are simply amazing and we love you.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Rescued cats perking up

Submitted by RedRover Responders volunteer Beth Gammie of Tallahassee, Florida

What is the sound of 700 cats purring?  We just might find out as the cats rescued from hoarding conditions perk up under the care of the UAN volunteers  (now known as the RedRover Responders). The effect of a full week of regular care--feeding, watering, clean quarters, medical treatment--shows. 

A kitten imitates King Kong
Volunteers notice the cats' appetites increased, they are more physically active and have brighter eyes. The cats are simply cleaner as they have the energy now to clean up and stay clean. As the cats recover from upper respiratory infections, and as their tiny lungs recover from years of breathing the toxic air in their former home, they are breathing easier. For some, the turnaround is remarkable, as if a switch was turned on. This makes kennel-cleaning an athletic event for volunteers who need to be on their toes to head off energetic escape attempts. 

Singer likes to serenade the volunteers
The healthier cats are beginning to act like, well, cats. Today a kitten climbed up the wire kennel wall and hung there like King Kong on the side of the Empire State Building. Singer, a very vocal kitty, serenades any person who ventures into his area of the shelter. Cats snooze in hammocks made by volunteers, while others curl up with their kennel mate. 

However, for many other cats, the road to recovery is longer. Years of untreated infection, illness and injury have caused serious medical problems. Laura Anderson, DVM, from the University of Florida's shelter medicine program said, "I'm surprised by how many ruptured eyeballs I'm seeing due to lack of treatment" for eye infections.  

Possum is blind due to an
untreated eye infection
Possum, a volunteer favorite, is one of these cats who is blind due to an untreated eye infection. His equanimity and affectionate nature have made this guy a favorite with volunteers and vets alike.

Possum illustrates the danger for hoarded animals. Once an animal becomes sick or injured in this environment of neglect, he or she is out of luck. There will be no trips to the vet, no medicine, no treatment. There is no good end for a sick animal in this environment: terminal diseases lead to drawn-out suffering, and treatable conditions morph into terminal ones. 

The massive effort underway to care for all the rescued cats and kittens is paying off--many are perking up, showing more energy, and coming back to life. Every volunteer is grateful that Alachua County Animal Services took action to investigate this case, reaching out, and giving the RedRover Responders a chance to give all these cats the love and care they deserve.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Rescued cats showing their friendliness

Submitted by UAN volunteer Beth Gammie of Tallahassee, Florida

Wendy Leonard of Elko, Georgia gets to
know one of the rescued cats
As the 700 cats and kittens settled in to their new home at UAN's emergency shelter, staff and volunteers were surprised at their friendliness and sociability. Wendy, a volunteer from Georgia, said the first thing she noticed about the cats was that "they all came to the front of the cage, talking, which was a good sign.  I think they're starving for attention." 

Is it dinner time yet?
The cats' warm demeanor shone through their sick and neglected condition. Janell Matthies, UAN's Emergency Services Manager, said "It's always heartbreaking to see sick animals. This case is extraordinary in the sheer number of animals, the extent of their illnesses, but most of all their friendliness and affectionate natures even when so ill."

A cat with hair loss
The rescued cats suffered from the types of illnesses one would expect in crowded and filthy hoarding conditions: upper respiratory infections, feline leukemia, skin disease such as lesions and ringworm, and intestinal problems. Some cats had anemia from the sheer number of fleas on them living off their blood.  Unusual in this case is a number of cats carrying themselves with their heads tilted to the side. Dr. Laura Andersen, one of vets assisting in medical care, said this could be caused by the chronic sinus congestion impinging on the cat's facial nerves.

A rescued cat asks for attention
Alachua County Animal Services asked The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) to help with animal handling, transportation, temporary sheltering and, if necessary, permanent placement of the cats. The HSUS in turned asked UAN to help set up and operate the temporary shelter. Animal Services personnel expressed their thanks for UAN's help in dealing with this massive rescue, which would swamp any county's capacity to handle.

Laina, one of the animal services workers said, "We couldn't have done it without you.  You guys do a great job." Her colleague, Darla, heard this and added, "You kept the ship afloat."  Chris, one of the Animal Services investigators was impressed with UAN's emergency shelter and said, "It's a million times better than what [the cats] had" to live in before.

Welcoming 700 rescued cats to a better life

Submitted by UAN volunteer Beth Gammie of Tallahassee, Florida

UAN volunteer Angel Zebraski of
Hampton, Georgia carries a rescued
cat into the emergency shelter
For two days, trucks arrived at UAN's emergency shelter carrying precious cargo--700 neglected cats rescued from deplorable hoarding conditions in High Springs, Florida. Time after time, UAN volunteers lined up to meet the transports and gently carried the cats to the clean, new kennels that awaited. 

Many of the cats walked gingerly out of their carriers into the kennels. Others showed their apprehension--natural at this stage in the rescue--by hunkering down in the carrier and refusing to come out. In these cases, volunteers put the entire carrier into the kennel to let the frightened cat come out at his or her own pace. Even cats who walked right into their kennels hunkered down in corners and litter boxes. However, a good number began reaching out (literally and figuratively) to volunteers and seeking attention.

Many cats had runny eyes and noses
The neglect these cats experienced quickly became evident. Many of the cats were simply filthy. The despair of trying to live in dirty and overcrowded conditions showed. Matted fur and crusty eyes and noses abounded.  Volunteers heard the wheezy breathing of cats suffering from upper respiratory infections and saw the fur loss and other skin conditions. 

Relaxing comfortably in safe and
clean surroundings
After having a chance to look around their new homes, the more talkative kitties had quite a lot to tell the us.  To the uninitiated, it sounded like, "Mew, meow, meow, mew." 

However, UAN volunteers are fluent in "cat" and heard them express their gratitude for shelter from the elements, a clean kennel, abundant food and clean water.  

One of the tiniest cats rescued
One calico asked, "What's up with that cold air blowing down from the ceiling," clearly unfamiliar with air conditioning. But mainly they expressed gratitude for humans who cared enough about them to travel from all over the United States and Canada to come to their rescue. "Mew," indeed.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Keeping animal tornado victims cool

Submitted by UAN volunteer Shari Neal of Marion, Iowa

A massive fan keeps a tornado evacuee cool
Each day hotter than the next. Heat indexes approaching and passing 100 degrees. What happens to animals and volunteers under stress and unable to cool off? The UAN volunteers who came to Joplin, Missouri to help the animals displaced by the May 22 tornado have been amazed by the hard work and awesome ingenuity of the folks working to keep us cool while the temperature only goes up outside.

Cats kept cool with ice packs
For days, everything was done to keep the cat and dog shelters from becoming unbearably hot for animals and volunteers. These efforts included cooling the cats with chilled towels and ice packs, smaller fans blowing across pans of ice on individual animals and huge fans blowing on sections. Enormous industrial air-conditioning units were trucked in and piped cold air through yard after yard of portable ducts to different sections of the buildings. 

A dog takes an ice bath
Dogs were given ice in their water bowls and some in their cages just for fun. The isolation dogs got frozen two-liter bottles to lay against and play with. When the dogs took their walks, they got the opportunity to splash in a wading pool with or without ice. When finished with playtime in the pools they would often stop for a few minutes in front of the air-conditioner before returning to their cages.

UAN volunteer Debbie Feguson cools
off a kitten with a wet towel
For the volunteers it's been frequent breaks, iced towels for our necks, fans on work stations, cooler after cooler of ice water and Gatorade, plus strict rules on how much to drink and a safety officer keeping us alert to the danger signs of heat exhaustion and dehydration.

After days of trying everything humanly imaginable to outsmart nature, we raised the white flag and gave up trying to cool a massive warehouse. With the help of many great minds, a plan was devised to combine the hottest shelter and the coolest shelter in the smaller building with all of the air conditioning trained on it. 

Add caption
The big move went off without a hitch and today the dog shelter was about 20 degrees cooler than it had been and volunteers and dogs were LOVIN it! Dogs were calmer and happier and more alert. The same could be said for volunteers! Comfortable living conditions are an important part of humane sheltering.

Emergency sheltering by the numbers

PetSmart Charities Emergency Relief Waggin'
provided litter boxes and other
supplies for the Florida cat rescue
When does 400 really equal 700? When you are rescuing animals from a hoarding a situation. UAN deployed volunteers to Gainesville, Florida, this week expecting to run a shelter for about 400 cats, but nearly 700 cats were removed from Haven Acres Cat Sanctuary in High Springs on June 7.

As usual, the UAN volunteers quickly adjusted to accommodate the unexpected charges, building more kennels and working double time to get the cats checked by vets and settled into their new quarters.

This kind of numbers game is common in hoarding and puppy mills seizures, when it is often hard for law enforcement officials to get an accurate animal count until they serve a warrant.

But while the volunteers will have to work a little harder to care for more animals, the good news is that 300 more animals will now have a second chance at a better life.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Emergency shelter in Florida ready for rescued cats

Submitted by UAN volunteer Beth Gammie of Tallahassee, Florida

Loading the truck for today's rescue
UAN volunteers traveled to Gainesville, Florida from Connecticut, Texas, Georgia, and throughout Florida to help rescue and care for cats removed from a hoarding situation today. Alachua County Animal Control officials asked UAN and The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) to help rescue and shelter an estimated 400 cats.

UAN volunteer Bob Dickson sets up cages
UAN volunteers worked throughout the day on Monday, June 6, to transform an empty warehouse into an emergency shelter in anticipation of the cat rescue. Volunteers set up well over 200 kennels -- unloading them from the PetSmart Charities truck, putting them together, stacking and arranging them into a workable shelter, and ensuring each kennel was secure. Janell Matthies, UAN Emergency Services Manager, estimated that the shelter could accommodate 550 cats.

UAN volunteer Leslee Weiss
prepares litter trays
Janell briefed the UAN volunteers in the afternoon, stating that because of unknowns, "flexibility is key." We're ready to construct more kennels if needed, create "maternity wards" for kittens, and do whatever is needed to provide for every cat and kitten that comes into our care.

Creative use of duct tape, and how we
hope the cats feel after being rescued
A strong Florida thunderstorm hit Gainesville mid-afternoon, dumping three inches of rain in a couple of hours. We paused for a moment to watch the lightning strikes and the torrential rainfall. We worried about the hoarded cats--living outdoors, without shelter or protection from the pounding rain--and then continued our work to make a comfortable and safe home for them. It felt good knowing they would have shelter, nutritious food, loving attention and medical care within 24 hours.

UAN volunteers went to sleep last night knowing that better lives for these cats would begin today.

Read more about this response on UAN's press release.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Tornado strengthens bonds with and among animals

Submitted by UAN volunteer Shari Neal of Marion, Iowa

Parts of Joplin were completely destroyed.
The fear is still palpable. The tears of loss and joy still flow. The desperate and the hopeful greet us each day at the Joplin Humane Society temporary emergency animal shelter. Change is in the air. Not the kind of change you plan for, but the kind that finds you when you least expect it. Much like the four men in blue who greeted us the minute the doors opened at the shelter this morning.

Joplin police officers brought three
stray dogs to the shelter.
In their arms were two puppies, and on a makeshift leash was an adult dog who looked like he could be their dad. The officers told us the dogs had been hanging around the same area for a couple of days, but the people who lived there had never seen them before.

The officers continued to snuggle the babies in their arms as they told us how the adult had been guarding the pups. He had been tending to them and watching over them and keeping them close this whole time. After taking down all the pertinent information we pushed two cages together, put the pups in one and the adult in the other. "Dad" communicated with the babies through the cage bars and together they all settled down.

The puppies snuggle together in the
safety of the emergency shelter.
It was clear that the officers did not want to say goodbye to these animals. But the city was full of people and other animals in need, so they said their reluctant goodbyes and headed back out into the disaster zone.

More snuggling!
The most interesting part of this story is that the loving adult turned out to be neutered and could not have been the puppy's father. He is just a kind soul who cared for them and kept them safe during their greatest time of need.

This is not the first incidence of bonding that we have seen between two animals who never knew each other before the tornado. A lactating mother cat came in as a stray with no kittens and four three-week-old kittens came in without a mother, and she welcomed the strangers when they were put together to see if she would nurse them.

My favorite story is of a Chihuahua and a Lab who were found together and brought to the shelter. They were put in separate cages near each other, as they gave every indication they were brothers. Instantly they started crying and would not stop until they had their cages pushed up next to each other, after which they stopped crying and snuggled thru the bars.

There the odd couple stayed until the Chihuahua's owner found him. She said she had never seen the Lab before, but was so proud of her little one for being such a caretaker for the youngster. She couldn't believe her dog had done this selfless thing and felt guilty for splitting up the new friends.

Not everyone steps up when there is a need, but many people and animals do. Many people have left their own homes and families to help this city in its greatest time of need. People have come to provide food and water, building services, shelter, security and law enforcement, counseling, basic necessities, and even animal care. I and the other UAN volunteers are proud to be among them.

Friday, June 3, 2011

On the ground in Joplin

Today, volunteers with UAN's Emergency Animal Rescue Service began working at a temporary shelter in Joplin, Missouri, where nearly 500 animals have found refuge after a massive tornado displaced them on May 22.

UAN volunteers will work alongside staff and volunteers from other local and national animal protection organizations to care for the animals and reunite them with their families.

We will post updates and photos as we get them. In the meantime, please read our press release and our tips on pet disaster preparedness for tornadoes.

You can also support our efforts to help the Joplin tornado victims by donating to our Emergency Relief Fund.