Sunday, October 02, 2005
At long last! We arrived in LA this morning at 9AM local time, after flying out of Seattle yesterday at 5PM. LONG layover in Salt Lake City, shorter one in Atlanta, then short jaunt back to New Orleans. Yep, crossed 3 time zones and then went back one. No one was really able to sleep on the plane, but caught a couple hours in the early morning in Atlanta. Arrived tired, but pumped. The 13 members of our group are Tara Lee, Kari Ann, Jessica, Gord, Brendan, Danielle, Chelsea, Jackie, Chris, Jen, Michelle, Sarah, and myself, Kirsten. Team 3 is also here, a team of 14, including 4 vets. The photo here is of the bridge that crosses Lake Pontchartrain, driving from New Orleans to Gonzales.
We picked up our rental vehicles and drove the hour to the Shelter at Lamar-Dixon Expo Grounds. We got settled in the volunteer tent, and Donna took us on a tour of all the barns that house the animals, and showed us where the important setups were (food, showers, washrooms). We had some lunch of hamburgers, and then we were ready to get to work, but unfortunately at that time, there was nothing we could help with. They have been clearing out this shelter, sending well animals out to shelters and foster homes around the country. They asked us to come back at 4pm to help out with a big move at that time (they were consolidating the 'residents' of 2 different barns to be able to turn the grounds back over to the Expo grounds). Most of went and caught a bit of sleep, and then returned at 4PM. The move had already been accomplished, but they were looking for teams to feed and water the dogs. They ended up having many too many people there for the numbers of animals, so a few of us went up to the hospital tent to see what we could do there. They didn't need help there either, so we are left feeling a little useless today. Hard to come in in the middle of the day, when all the teams have already been given their assignments. So we will take it easy tonight, and be ready to go very early tomorrow morning.
Pics of a few of the pets in the shelter today. The dogs often lie on their backs like this, trying to stay cool. Very warm and humid here, and although each stall has at least one, and usually 3, fans going, it is tough for these guys to cool off. The cats also are stretched right out, never curled up in the tidy way that cats do. Many of them are also 'open mouth' breathing...a sure sign of stress or respiratory distress at home, but them just trying to cool off here. As you can see, they are stacked on top of one another in a lot of instances. They don't seem to mind much, however. The dogs are no longer as crowded. 'Families' or bonded pairs are kept together as much as possible, if not in the same kennel, then at least within sight of each other.
Tomorrow we expect to have a meeting at 5:30AM to find out our assignments for the day. I hope to post about it tomorrow night.
Posted by Donna Lasser, Team Leader Kirsten at 7:07 p.m.