Folks, it's been 10 years, make that 10 life-altering years, since Hurricane Katrina, and the inception of this newsletter.
Dear Animal Lovers, Advocates, Rescuers & Activists:
In September 2005, my gorgeous dog Cyril died, and right behind him, my rescued shepherd Missie. I was dogless for the first time in years, and absolutely distraught over their loss. Also, distraught over what I was seeing on my TV day in day out, and the animals stranded by Katrina. So I made an ADHD split second decision :) to go down and work with NOLA, and bring home who I could. The email that I sent out asking for help went to about 50 friends and peeps I knew in rescue at the time. Bonnie Deacon from Cambridge & District Humane was one of the many who stepped up, allowing us to travel under her rescue status.
The Best Friends.org compound was located at the St. Francis Animal Rescue in Tylertown Mississippi, just north of the Louisiana border. 800 dogs and cats in were housed there in temporary shelter, impeccably run by Best Friends, and Heidi (RIP) and Pam Perez from St. Francis. Throughout that season, we met hundreds of rescuers and advocates -- all who joined in the email updates on our journeys there and back. This is Dr. Charlie Grumbusky and Pam Perez from St. Francis:
One night, some coyotes came down from the surrounding hills and started baying. I never heard anything like it, when all the shelter dogs joined in ...
Today, that list of 50 people is well over 3,000 -- 4,000 if you include our Facebook folk. The email updates turned into the newsletter that you receive today. Each week, each and every one of you, facilitates for animals in need via this newsletter.
People ask me all the time, how do you do it?
How do you deal with the trauma?
Well, it's simple really:
you deal with it by doing something about it
. That's how you convert post traumatic stress to post traumatic growth. Self-care and reinvention are the bridge
out of compassion fatigue. Or any other grief for that matter. All I was trying to do at the time, was honour my dogs by turning my grief into positive action, to help other animals, in Cyril and Missie's names. Little did we know how that trip would actually play out -- and how it continues to play out, week over week, through this amazing network/collective community.
As mother would say, "coolio". She was always steadfast in her delivery of "well, you're not going to walk way, are you?"