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But Laura and her team remained central to the rescue effort.
Smashwords – Platinum Angel: Silver Lining – a book by Don Ship
All you could think about were the animals. The clock was ticking and it was a matter of life and death. Laura vividly recalls the stresses she and her staff encountered during those horrible days.
The only way we could stay focused and survive under those circumstances was just to focus on the task at hand without really absorbing the horror that was unfolding in our city. Some, in fact, didn't even know the whereabouts of their parents or children. It was sad and heartbreaking and incredible to observe the handwriting, and how it changed and evolved day-to-day. It was like looking into a unique window of time, and I remember thinking that the handwriting seemed to reflect the stress and unbelievable circumstances that everyone was under.
As for the shelter itself, Laura describes it in a word — chaos. But within that chaos, she says, 8, animals were saved. The temporary shelter was the largest animal shelter ever created, and it came together with astonishing speed.get link
Platinum Angel, Silver Lining
As Laura describes, they truly created a shelter out of thin air. It was an animal shelter, and anyone in the shelter business knows that running and operating a shelter involves a highly complex set of skills, coordination, and management to care for the animals. In a normal scenario it's both challenging and emotional.
Imagine doing so in a temporary, makeshift camp with hundreds of animals coming in every day under the surreal, heart-wrenching backdrop of Hurricane Katrina. And it wasn't just dogs and cats. There were horses, birds, snakes, pigs, goats, rabbits, ferrets — any animal companion you can imagine. But she finds some measured peace when she receives a letter — even a year-and-a-half later — from someone thanking them for saving their pet.
For example, recently Laura received a letter and framed drawing from a resident whose parrot, Mango, was rescued from their home in Lakeview, one of the most devastated parts of the city. The family had not been permitted to bring Mango to the hotel to which they were evacuated. So they left plenty of food and water, believing as many people did that they would be able to return home within a few days.
Mango was one of the rescued birds housed at Lamar-Dixon, and the family ultimately located her in the home where she was being fostered.
:: Cannabiscope: An Interactive Strain Mapping System
Laura also remembers a face-to-face thank you from a woman whose dog didn't survive the storm; rescuers were not able to reach him in time. She stayed for several days to volunteer. A year-and-a-half after Katrina, its silver lining is finally coming into view. It will incorporate the basic functions of animal sheltering, providing a space for animal control services, stray animal collection, and cruelty investigations.
The building also will house the Adoption Center until the second phase of the project is completed. Residents will be able to enjoy a variety of workshops, such as grooming and pet massage, while children participate in highly sought-after summer camp programs. The third phase of the project will focus on bringing the community and animals together through events, such as competitive agility trials and programs for at-risk children and their dogs.
I'm an educator at heart; engaging young people rather than simply lecturing to them is really the best way to reach them and make a difference in their lives. The new facility features state-of-the-art shelter design, including a mini-ventilation system for every animal. It is expected that the center will offer "free time" for people who want to work with their dogs on agility courses.
The campus' For example, percent of the air will turn over new fresh air from outside and old air expelled several times per hour, and each animal will have its own mini-ventilation system to further improve air-quality and reduce the spread of disease. At our former plus-year-old shelter in the 9th Ward, air never turned over! Not surprisingly, funding the project presents significant challenges. In a community with dire funding needs in so many areas — rebuilding schools, churches, hospitals, and yes, an animal shelter — there simply are more needs than there are resources to meet them.
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And while the generosity and outpouring of support from across the country has been extraordinarily helpful, Laura says that the organization's long term survival must come directly from the community. She reminds us that "those thousands of local donations are vital to any non-profit. Laura says she doesn't expect New Orleans to stabilize for at least ten years. And while a new shelter is rising on the horizon, there are many more issues to be addressed and challenges to meet head-on. Laura explains:.
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We work on advocacy and legislative issues, offer education programs to a variety of audiences, provide veterinary services to indigent animals, and help strengthen the human-animal bond through a variety of programs. While many of our goals have long-term impact, the next three to five years will involve rebuilding, launching education initiatives, and making an impact legislatively.
We need to change the cultural mindset about spaying and neutering. I want to see a more informed and compassionate public so that cruelty and neglect is minimized.