To the Rescue [two stories!]
Katrina, Wilma and You
I'm a bit amazed at the attention our efforts after Katrina have garnered. I only hope that maybe more folks will realize that in times of bad trouble everyone can make a difference. When Sam and I started this effort it was very small -just us and one friend with a two-horse trailer who said she would go with my daughter and me. When word got out there was a very large response. Ultimately there were nine other trailers that both ran with me and also ran loads of supplies I organized on their own. This is the first group of trailers going in waiting for our military escort...
We were the first people into the rescue/disbursement center in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. This is the hay being unloaded from my trailer on trip number one.
These are the trailers and volunteers who went on the first load, and some of our military escorts. Sam and I are fourth and fifth from the left.
This is my trailer being unloaded in Pass Christian, Mississippi. The volunteers unloading the trailer are a group of volunteer firemen from Tulsa, Oklahoma who drove all the way to Mississippi to assist the local volunteer fire department. They didn't even have a building left to put supplies in. This was our third trip. After the first load, Sam and I were alone and made the repeat trips by ourselves. Once again, please let me say that it was not just Sam and I. There were many folks who stepped up to the plate with donations and support for what we were trying to do. I owe every one of them a tremendous thank you. As far as donations, any donations are better than none. The work cleaning up after both Katrina and Rita will be going on for a long time to come. A good place for equine donations is... www.usdf.org/News/viewNews.asp?news=71
By Su Zi
Horse lovers are different from other folks. Horses are of the land; to care for horses is to care for the land, is to be more caring in life.
When disasters occur, all it ever takes to make a difference is to act out of caring. One person who made (and is still making) a difference is Don Orem, who took five trips to the besieged Gulf South in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, hauling hay and horse feed each time.
"I don't want it to look like I'm a hero" said Don Orem in a recent telephone interview. Maybe he doesn't, but this former long-haul driver of twenty-three years filled his forty-foot horse trailer with 250 bales of hay and 1000 pounds of feed to make the drive from central Florida to Mississippi. Upon his first arrival, Don said, "We had to have an army escort [until the roads were cleared]. The Humane Society was there, but they had no supplies. People were crying...250 bales of hay were gone in twenty minutes."
Don said he had heard about the storm's damage on his way back from a horse show. "We were at a recognized show in Tampa and I heard on satellite radio about the damage that was done. Samantha [Orem's daughter] said maybe we can give somebody a place to stay if we turn some horses out." This was the start of the Katrina rescue that, at various times, involved an organization of five trailers that "kept running loads".
No stranger to horse rescue, Don Orem also acted out of caring in the aftermath of Hurricane Wilma. Ever modest, he said, "That was just bringing horses up that needed homes. I'm on a list with my local rescue people. I volunteer. They lost the Humane Society compound due to Wilma."
Certainly, the jeopardy of horses does not become television fodder for disaster coverage. As horse-lovers, we would be wise to abide by Don Orem's admonition, "There's always horses that need help." Don cites horse auctions as likely places for rescue, since "donated horses [to some nonprofit organizations] go to the meat buyers [at the auctions] - not something a lot of people know about."
Yet Don Orem is not motivated by notoriety. Although donations were made for the Katrina rescue, "I recovered less than half in donations," for the cost of his trips. Nonetheless, Don also says, "I couldn't have done it all myself... It's all just people working together."
If horses have human heroes, Don Orem would unequivocally qualify. Claiming that he merely wants to "teach our daughter, Samantha, to be compassionate and the best way is by example", Don is teaching the wider equestrian community about compassion as well. Saying, somewhat abashed, "Five or six years ago ... I swore if I ever got to the point where I could help people, I would", Don Orem is evidence of what one person acting from caring can do.
To work from the heart
the resolution of more than a few,
an old idea ever made new,
let the next act come from you.
About the author:
Su Zi lives in Ocala, Florida and spent many years working as a groom and barn manager. Now, the horses she takes care of are her own.
Flower Essences for Katrina Victims
By Meg Harrison Doyal
From: "Meg Harrison Doyal" <email@example.com
Subject: re-entry's a "B"
Date: Tue, 11 Oct 2005 12:24:07 -0700
I want to say "THANK YOU" from regions of my heart that did not
exist just a few weeks ago. You allowed me to carry 100 pounds of natural
medicines (enough to help thousands) to an area starved for emotional sensibility
and mental stability.
The exhaustion in people's body language was evident from the moment I arrived in Baton Rogue airport September 21. But, when I arrived in Gonzales, where the animals were being cared for, there was a renewed energy. Volunteers FROM ALL 50 STATES in Gonzales were going out to New Orleans at 5:30 a.m. in their own vehicles rescuing pets that had been left alone for up to a month, most from St. Bernard's Parish and Ward 9 near the Super Dome. Hundreds remained behind to care for the animals previously brought in and not yet fostered out or found by their owners.
Volunteers would return to the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center beginning at 4:00 p.m. until 9:00 when the gates closed. Search and rescue was becoming more acute as time was running low for the safety and health of the animals left behind. Volunteers were dropping food for some and bringing in up to 300 dogs, cats and exotics every night until Friday October 7 when they were taken to Pasada, another shelter.
Figures will never be completely accurate but close to 6,000 animals passed through Lamar-Dixon in 6 weeks. Every animal would go through triage, get examined by a member of VMAT, get micro-chipped, vaccinated, and - unless requiring special care - sent to our barn for critical care; then got sent to "general population" with the 1,500 housed animals. Should have realized how unique this experience was going to be when the first night I overheard 2 vets in the late 30's talking and one said: "I thought I knew something about medicine before I got here. I now know I don't know very much at all."
THEN CAME RITA.
Volunteers were forced to evacuate - all but a skeletal crew of 10 persons for each of the 5 barns. That was my first of 6 "field promotions". How is staying behind a promotion?
Hundreds of volunteers were put on buses and evacuated 50 miles north. Several
did not want to leave and were told to use permanent marker and write their
social security numbers on their forearms. That is when it got very real.
Tornadoes, 70 mph wind and sideways rain - while all the animals remained eerily quiet.
The animals were what we were able to concentrate on - giving them time and attention. They were walked, cleaned, fed and watered up to 3 times every day.
REMEDIES… The Girls - Kerry, Jennifer, Linda, Rachel and Johanna - gathered at the house before I left and we put together the most awesome Flower Essence and homeopathic remedy called THE SHELTER BLEND for "hope, comfort, acceptance and empowerment."
When I started my first volunteer shift in Gonzales, I put several bottles
in my pockets and when the dog's water was changed, I'd add one spritz to
the bowl. That did draw attention - while one woman was quite verbal questioning
my actions, she gave me the chance to explain myself and others an opportunity
to notice the change in the animals.
Within the first 90 minutes (I timed it) someone yelled out: "We need some SPRAYS over here. We have a stressed out dog." Then I heard: "This one's not eating. Bring me some SPRAYS." "Will it help them drink more?" "Will they be less afraid if we use them?" And on and on. Within one day, our barn (250 dogs) was the most settled, the quietest, and our workers the least stressed.
Your generous donations, which also included vaccines, colostrum, immune building blends, and all your good wishes to the animals and excellent thoughts sent in that direction helped thousand of animals and their caretakers.
2 (un-neutered) Pit Bulls got loose and were fighting... nothing could break them up and a woman meekly said: "I've got some SPRAYS." Someone yelled: "Use them." She sprayed twice and the dogs quit fighting. Kinda freaked out the people standing around. By Day #12, vets were asking for them. So you were a resounding success. THANK YOU AND THANK YOU AGAIN AND AGAIN.
On a personal note, never knew I could work that hard. (Just don't tell my family.) In 12 straight days I worked at least 140 hours.
I had the privilege to work alongside surgeons, nurses, MDs, mental health
workers, hospital administrators, yoga teachers, veterinarians, retired executives,
managers from a huge mutual fund group... all up to their elbows in animal "stuff".
The reunions we witnessed brought even the hardest of us to our knees, sobbing. More than not - their animals were all these people had left in their lives and for us to have the privilege to take care of them until they could be reunited was life-changing for us.
My biggest privilege was knowing there were people who believed in me and these "alternative medicines", supporting our efforts in carrying these products to an area so desperately in need.
Tell you how well it all worked. The Humane Society of the United States has made me an offer to go back and assist in the re-building of the New Orleans animal shelters destroyed by Katrina. I will fly in for a meeting within the next few weeks and see where it all goes from there. I know it is all a result of the remedies and the balance they bring.
Wish there were words that could express the gratitude I feel for each and every one of you, but for now THANK YOU will have to be enough. Bringing so many Remedies to so many families was a blessing from you all.
BlackWing Farms donated to the HSUS all proceeds from sales of their Shelter Blend essence at the October trade show in L.A. Follow-up of a 3-pack of Remedies - Shelter Blend, Aftermath & Lavender Synergy - were also sent to the shelters that took animals from the Gulf Region.