A few folks have called to check on us with the latest weather, namely Rita. Don't worry, we'd be the first people outta here if we thought we needed to evacuate. The wind started last night, but it's bearable. It probably wouldn't be a problem at all if the community weren't still reeling from Katrina. There is SO much debris outside right now -- much more than there was immediately after Katrina hit because now everyone has returned and is emptying their flooded homes and piling it up outside, where it is now blowing all around. We lost some more of our fence, and someone's blue roof tarp is in our back yard. There's not much rain though, so that's good, especially since we don't have our tarp installed yet. Hubby is outside taking down the flapping parts of our fence before they hurt someone. More than anything, the wind is annoying. It's also really hot AND humid. It's almost 4 PM and it's still blowing. Normally a little breeze feels good, but right now it just feels like hot breath.
This morning I ran into Bob again while evaluating a tree that is about to fall in a neighbor's yard. He is the one I mentioned who has been working with the animal rescue group and making the city facility available for them. The group is called Noah's Wish and their main focus is to help animals during disasters. Bob said they desperately needed volunteers to help walk dogs in Slidell, so I headed over to become a dog walker for all the homeless dogs.
They currently have over 500 animals at their temporary shelter in Slidell. It appears chaotic at first, but it is actually all very well organized. Most of the volunteers were from around the country. They have different people in charge of certain groups of animals, and veterinarian volunteers as well. The dogs need to get out of their crates to go potty since most of them hold it while they are in there. While they are out being walked, another volunteer cleans their crate and replaces the food and water. The animals are all tagged and everything is documented on the sheet attached to their crate so they don't miss anything. Those dogs were so happy to get out and go potty!
They can only be walked one at at time. I helped walk dogs for about 3 hours, so at about 10 minutes per dog, I only did about about 20 dogs. They want to have them all walked at least twice a day, so they need a lot of volunteers. I'm going to try to go back and help as much as I'm able during the next couple of weeks. It will probably be a lot easier once this hot wind stops blowing.
Many of the animals belong to people who have returned to Slidell, but can't care for their animals because they are staying in shelters, hotels, or they are camping in RVs until they can get their houses livable again. While I was there a couple of dogs got to go home with their owners who were so happy to see them. Other animals have not been identified yet, and the group tries to help locate their owners. Eventually, they will foster out the animals locally so their owners can visit them while trying to repair their housing, and then eventually the rest will be adopted.
If anyone in Slidell is reading this and you want to help walk dogs, the shelter is over next to Heritage Park. There is someone at the gate who will tell you where to go. You have to be at least 18 years old to volunteer. Be prepared to get dirty, and you have to use a baggie to pick up whatever poop your pooch pals produce. :-)
Also -- Anyone in Slidell who just needs pet food or leashes or kennels to house your animals, they that available also. There is no charge. Just go talk to them and tell them what you need. I'm sure a lot of people around here can use a dog kennel of some sort since there aren't many backyard fences left standing.
As for my little dog, Oscar, he seems to be doing better. The swelling in his eye has gone down quite a bit and he is no where near as stressed out as he was initially. He still has to wear his big plastic Elizibethan collar though, since he'd still like to scratch at it. The ulcer looks a little better (at least as far as I can tell), and he has a follow up appointment at the vet on Monday.