Thursday, September 15, 2005

Canadians Welcomed in LA

"Wonderful and life-changing" is how CAAT member Tara describes her first day at the Lamar-Dixon Shelter in Gonzales, LA. The shelter is still in chaos, and our team was the first group of Vets and Techs to arrive, with others expected throughout the day today. The team has been assigned to a large building that is housing sick animals, and their skills are being put to good use. From placing IV catheters to monitoring anesthesia, they have been working since early this morning, in hot (100F--38C) and humid weather.

They arrived at 1 AM local time, pitched their tents, and were up at 7 AM this morning to start work. "We have all shed tears at what we've seen" this morning, says team leader Donna in a phone update. There are 200 animals being shipped out to other areas of the U.S. every day. Unfortunately, there are 200 more being brought in to replace them, as rescue efforts continue in New Orleans. "These animals are looking pretty rough, very thin and shaky," after 2 weeks on their own.

The team has identified themselves as Canadians by applying Canadian flag patches to their backpacks and ballcaps. "The people here are so happy to see us," says Donna. "They walk up to us, shake our hands, and say 'Thank you for coming'".

The team has not yet received government funding for airfare to the area. Part of the reason for that is the Canadian government has not yet received an official request from the U.S. for help from Canada. That may soon change. John Minnick, with the Department of Homeland Security, introduced himself to Donna when he saw the flag on her hat. He reported that a Senator was coming to the area on Monday, and that hopefully, when the Senator sees the need that our CAAT is helping to fill, that request will be made.

Each day 3-5 additional Vets and Techs sign up with the CAAT and donations continue to flow in from all over Canada. We will continue to keep you updated with the work the CAAT is doing in the disaster area.

No comments:


Donate Now Through!