Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Animals of the flood

People's pets--the smallest victims of the Cedar Rapids flood--found themselves rescued and temporarily housed in the Kirkwood Community College Equestrian Center until their owners can reunite with them or while families who lost their homes in the flood can make new living arrangements. This is a view inside the shelter. The guy in the yellow T-shirt is Quinn, one of the volunteers with whom I had the privilege of working with today.

I cleaned out stalls and gave the dogs clean food and water. Talk about noisy! These poor animals, under such stress when they just want to be with their families. Here is one of the dogs I took outside for a walk--or rather, he walked me--a feisty little terrier named Spot. We had fun. :o) Here he is, after a good workout and a chance to dig into his dinner: His paperwork notes that his owner's name is Angie and lists an address, which means they've been reunited. I would guess his owner is trying to find a new place to live so, in the meantime, Spot will extend his stay at the center.

Working in teams of 3 or 4, we made quick progress. The rescue operation is caring for about 600 animals now after a high of a thousand. Kevin, a handsome young hunk from Chicago, and Leslie, a trained animal rescue worker from Connecticut, both came to Iowa to help during the flood aftermath. What lovely people! Here's Leslie and I:

The New York Times wrote a very nice piece about the rescue operation and care of these animals, including how it compares to Katrina.

I also delivered meals today with Horizon's "Meals on Wheels" program. Tomorrow morning I report to Prairie High School to travel by van into the downtown area to distribute flood recovery newsletters to the affected homeowners. Every little bit helps.

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