Editor's Note: This is a thank you message and report from Meg Harrison who has recently returned from doing volunteer work for the Humane Society, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
I want to say "THANK YOU" from regions of my heart that did not exist just a few weeks ago. You allowed me to carry 100 pounds of natural medicines (enough to help thousands) to an area starved for emotional sensibility and mental stability.
The exhaustion in people's body language was evident from the moment I arrived in the Baton Rogue airport on September 21st. But, when I arrived in Gonzales, where the animals were being cared for, there was a renewed energy. Volunteers FROM ALL 50 STATES in Gonzales were going out to New Orleans at 5:30 a.m., in their own vehicles rescuing pets that had been left alone for up to a month, most from St. Bernard's Parish and Ward 9 near the Super Dome. Hundreds remained behind to care for the animals previously brought in and not yet fostered out or found by their owners.
Volunteers would return to the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center beginning at 4:00 p.m. until 9:00 when the gates closed. Search and rescue was becoming more acute as time was running low for the safety and health of the animals left behind. Volunteers were dropping food for some and bringing in up to 300 dogs, cats and exotics every night until Friday, October 7 when they were taken to Pasada, another shelter.
Figures will never be completely accurate, but close to 6,000 animals passed through Lamar-Dixon in 6 weeks. Every animal would go through triage, get examined by a member of VMAT, get micro-chipped, vaccinated, and unless requiring special care, sent to our barn for critical care. From there they were sent to "general population" with the 1,500 housed animals. Should have realized how unique this experience was going to be when the first night I overheard two vets in their late 30s talking and one said: "I thought I knew something about medicine before I got here. I now know I don't know very much at all."
THEN CAME RITA.
Volunteers were forced to evacuate; all but a skeleton crew of 10 persons for each of the five barns remained. That was my first of six "field promotions." How is staying behind a promotion?
Hundreds of volunteers were put on buses and evacuated 50 miles north. Several did not want to leave and were told to use permanent marker and write their social security numbers on their forearms. That is when it got very real. Those of us remaining were trying to be brave; we knew what we might be in for and so we took Mimulus flower essence, along with Yarrow, which helped us deal with our fears.
There were tornadoes, 70 mph wind and sideways rain while all the animals remained eerily quiet. The animals were what we were able to concentrate on, giving them time and attention. They were walked, cleaned, fed and watered up to 3 times every day.
Kerry, Jennifer, Linda, Rachel and Johanna gathered at the house before I left and we put together the most awesome flower essence and homeopathic remedy called The Shelter Blend—Iroquois Sweetgrass, Gorse, Arnica, 12,000 GrandFathers (stones from the alpine tundra of the Rocky Mountains) and Yarrow—for "hope, comfort, acceptance and empowerment."
When I started my first volunteer shift in Gonzales, I put several bottles in my pockets and when the dogs' water was changed—I'd add one spritz to the bowl. That drew the attention of one woman who was quite verbal and questioned my actions; she gave me the chance to explain myself and others an opportunity to notice the change in the animals.
Within the first 90 minutes (I timed it) someone yelled out: "We need some SPRAYS over here. We have a stressed out dog." Then I heard: "This one's not eating. Bring me some SPRAYS." "Will it help them drink more?" "Will they be less afraid if we use them?" And on and on. Within one day, our barn (250 dogs) was the most settled, quietest and our workers the least stressed.
There was a puppy that wouldn't eat until I forced a few drops of blends into his mouth and also an older dehydrated dog that finally started drinking on her own after remedies were lightly "smooshed" onto her back. I gave Aspen (photo at right) to every little "quaking" dog I encountered. The dogs went in and out of their cages without incident, I believe, because of the Yarrow in the formula given to them. We could not physically change their environments and it helped them to feel more comfortable. Also, the remedies kept the volunteers emotionally intact enough to keep coming back and not burn out. Those who did not partake of them burnt out and left early.
Your generous donations, which also included vaccines, colostrum, immune building blends, and all your good wishes to the animals and excellent thoughts sent in that direction helped thousand of animals and their caretakers.
Two (un-neutered) Pit Bulls got loose and were fighting—nothing could break them up and a woman meekly said: "I've got some SPRAYS." Someone yelled: "Use them!" She sprayed twice and the dogs quit fighting. Kinda freaked out the people standing around. By Day #12, vets were asking for them. So you were a resounding success. THANK YOU AND THANK YOU AGAIN AND AGAIN.
On a personal note, never knew I could work that hard. (Just don't tell my family.) In 12 straight days I worked at least 140 hours. I had the privilege to work alongside surgeons, nurses, MDs, mental health workers, hospital administrators, yoga teachers, veterinarians, retired executives, managers from a huge mutual fund group-all up to their elbows in animal "stuff".
The reunions we witnessed brought even the hardest of us to our knees, sobbing. More than not, their animals were all that these people had left in their lives, and for us to have the privilege to take care of them until they could be reunited was life-changing for us.
My biggest privilege was knowing there were people who believed in me and these "alternative medicines" supporting our efforts in carrying these products to an area so desperately in need
I will tell you how well it all worked. The Humane Society of the United States has made me an offer to go back and assist in the re-building of the New Orleans animal shelters destroyed by Katrina. I will fly in for a meeting within the next few weeks and see where it all goes from there. I know it is all a result of the Remedies and the balance they bring.
I wish there were words that could express the
gratitude I feel for each and every one of you but for now THANK YOU will
have to be enough. Bringing so many remedies to so many families was a
blessing from you all.
P.O. Box 459, Nevada City, CA 95959
800-736-9222 (US & Canada)
tel: 530-265-9163 fax: 530-265-0584
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