These are random musings of my life journey, the people, animals, places, and events which have woven, and continue to weave, a tapestry that is me. We all know there is no real destination, only the ongoing experiences which blend together, creating the trail. Each step gives a glimpse of what is to come, without allowing me to see the end result. It is exciting. I have a home base that is mine, that gives me a place to rest. This is it. This is where my heart is, no matter where I journey...................

Friday, June 20, 2008

A Request to Reach into Your Hearts

I just got this in an email from the Shih Tzu/Lhasa Apso Rescue hotline. I'm forwarding it on to everyone, and I want to put it here, too. It is long, but please read it. I hope it will open the hears of all of us, myself included, to doing whatever we can for the animals caught up in the flooding in the Midwest, those who have been separated from their families. Please feel free to copy this and pass it on. If each of us who read this could send just $10, $5, or even $1, a blanket, a bag of dogfood or catfood, some towels, laundry detergent .... just think how much help that would be in saving these animals.

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Thu Jun 19, 2008 12:53 pm (PDT)

A member of Stealth Volunteers (Yahoo group whose members located owners of rescued animals after Katrina) recently spoke to Scot Northern who has been appointed as Public Information Officer for the Cedar Rapids Animal Relief Effort. It sounds like there will not be another Katrina rescue mess this time around. She gave permission to crosspost the information from Mr. Northern so please pass it on. Thanks.


~~~~Permission to Cross Post~~~~

Lots of Answers to Questions/Rumors - Cedar Rapids Displaced Flood Animals

From Scot Northern:

Good Morning,

Last night I met, for about two hours, with Sgt. Kent Choate, head of Animal Control for the city of Cedar Rapids. During this time, I was able to present to him all the many questions and rumors that have been pouring into me. Sgt. Choate pulled back the covers on the entire operation and answered every question I had. He also guided me around the entire facility, and introduced me to the many organizations which have been instrumental in the shelters successful operation.

Here's some answers and info. These are not quotes from Sgt Choate, but rather my summation of his answers, and my own answers that I have found:

Question: I got an email saying that Animal Control was killing dogs and cats in order to make room for more, is this true?
Answer: Nope. 100% UNTURE. Everyone at the shelter is doing all they can to make sure the animals are well taken care of, loved, petted, and made as comfortable as possible. Once again, no animals have been euthanized to make room for others, and there is no plan to ever even consider doing so. Think of that original Kill Email on the same level as the emails promising you Bill Gates will give you $1 for every person you forward it to. It isn't going to happen.

Question: What kind of volunteers are they looking for? How can I help?
Answer: Volunteers have been coming in from all over the country. The general public is welcome to volunteer, and would most likely help escort families around the facility to identify lost animals. If you wish to volunteer, you may proceed to the Krkwood Community College Vet Tech Building between the hours of 10am-7pm. Just like with any coordinated operation, there are certain skill sets that are crucial to its success. The most needed skill sets include: experienced animal handlers, vet techs, and vets.

Question: I'm a vet or vet tech, how can I help?
Answer Contact me, and I will put you in touch with the coordinator at the shelter. Question: Will foster homes and rescue groups be utilized? Answer: In the coming weeks, as the number of animals needing help is better understood, rescue organizations around the country will be contacted. Rescue organizations wishing to help, should ensure that they have all the proper federal and state documentation. At this point, foster homes are not being looked at as an option due to several reasons including the logistics of keeping track of individual homes across the country, and certification requirements needed to ensure the best interest of the animals. In many states, Foster Homes are only recognized as being so after numerous inspections, and continual monitoring by the state.

Question: I would like to specifically donate money to the Cedar Rapids Animal Relief effort, how can I do that?
Answer: Visit www.kirkwood. Visit www.kirkwood. edu , then follow the link at the bottom of the page to the Kirkwood Fund, and then the Donate Now section. There will be a drop down box, and you should select the option for Friends of the Animal Shelter Fund. Due to high volume, the site may be up and down at ti

Question: What other supplies does the shelter need?
Answers: Towels, sheets, bedding, and laundry detergent. (I know how often I do dog laundry for my 2 Whippets, now imagine the dirty laundry for hundreds of animals.)

Question: How are animals organized at the shelter?
Answer: Animals at the shelter are grouped into one of the following categories. Shelter animals pre-flood, strays/rescued animals post flood with no known information, animals with known owners, animals with known address/areas of rescue. Presently, there are between 650-700 total animals at the facilities in Cedar Rapids.

Question: How are the animals housed?
Answer: Cats are housed in large crates with litter pans, food, water, blankets, and toys in each. (The crates are probably big enough for a Golden Retriever to fit in.) Dogs are kept in either large crates, or for the most part, enclosures measuring probably 6ft by 6ft with food, water, and bedding in each. There are many dogs in horse stalls that measure 8ft by 8ft. Dogs which were brought in together, are housed together to help them cope with the situation better. Birds are in large cages, turtles are in aquariums, and horses are in horse stalls. Each enclosure is numbered and catalogued for tracking purposes. The Kirkwood facility is amazing! I was most surprised by the smell, or lack there of! As I walked the facility, I found the animals, clean and resting comfortably. Rest assured that the Kirkwood facility is a state of the art equine center and vet tech school. Even the most experience animal person would envy the facilities available out there. I imagine that when the Cedar Rapids shelter is able to rebuild their facility, it will be modeled after this.

Question: How are the animals kept track of?
Answer: A tracking spreadsheet is constantly updated electronically, and distributed throughout the shelter. This sheet contains the type of animal, location the animal was rescued from or owners address, the sex of the animal, who brought the animal in, description of the animal, and stall/enclosure # where the animal is being kept. Basically, everything about this animal is catalogued. Additionally, each animal is photographed, and those pictures put into a flip book for owners to look through in order to identify any lost animals.

Question: What happens when an animal is brought in?
Answer: The information described in the tracking sheet above is gathered. Each animal is then decontaminated, if needed. Next a vet provides an exam to identify any health conditions that will be treated. Depending on the classification of the animal, they are then moved to the appropriate facility and their enclosure # is catalogued along with their photo.

Question: Who has been providing the donations and supplies out there? (Disclaimer: Kent rattled of a bunch of organizations, and I tried my best to document them all. If I missed your group, please accept my deepest apologies and heartfelt gratitude.)
Answer: The public has been tremendous in their support, and a constant stream of donations was apparent. On a corporate level, Petsmart Charities has sent their Waggin Wagon several times filled with supplies, the AKC CAR Canine Support and Relief Fund and their friends at and Jewett-Cameron have shipped hundreds of new crates and supplies. The Humane Society of the United States has not only provided on-site logistical expertise but supplies and food as well, Hills Science Diet has shipped truck loads of food to the site, additionally, Pfizer provided tremendous support and supplies, and Ft Dodge Labs has donated vaccines. A special thanks MUST be extended to Kirkwood Community College for offering up their entire vet facility and Equine Center. Who knows what would have happened without these facilities!

Question: Who is on-site now helping?
Answer: The shelter was brimming with volunteers and organizations. Each one of these groups was offering a unique and much needed area of expertise. The Humane Society of the United States, the Iowa Department of Agriculture, the United Animal Nation, the Cedar Rapids Kennel Association, ¦just to name a few. (All working side-by-side, picture the Coke Commercials from the 70's and 80's without the singing.)

Question: I think my pet may be out there, what do I do?
Answer: Possible owners can work with staff between 10am-7pm on Wednesday, June 18th and Thursday June 19th at the Equine Center Office. At that time, the possible owners will fill out a Rescue Request to help staff identify the exact animal being looked for, and will then work with the volunteers to cross reference the tracking sheet on name of the owner and/or address of the animal(where the animal was found or owners address). If there is no match to name or address, those possible owners will be asked to return on Friday in order to have the time needed to page through the photo books of animals on-site. This will allow other possible owners to identify their animals on Wednesday and Thursday, and give those folks needing to come back on Friday the time they deserve to go through the photos.

Question: I want to adopt an animal? What can I do?
Answer: There are shelter animals, pre-flood available at Kirkwood for adoption. However, at this time, every effort is being made to identify owners of unknown animals, and reunite owners of animals that have identified owners/addresses. Presently, flood animals are not available.

Question: Is this going to be another Katrina?
Answer: In my humble opinion, no. Plain and simply, no. I've spoken to dozens of Katrina veterans over the past couple days, and can happily say that the advice they are giving me was already in place at the shelter. Katrina was a horrible tragedy, but provided some much needed lessons to be learned, and best practices to be shared. Every animal organization involved with Katrina recognizes what worked, and what didn't. Changes have been made. During a time like this, our efforts are best served by continuing to work together, continuing to put aside our preconceived notions of who's a good guy and who's a bad guy. This is NOT a purebred dog effort, This is NOT an animal control effort, This is NOT an HSUS effort, its NOT a dog effort, its NOT a cat effort,it IS an animal world effort. When you're out there, it IS a TEAM effort. The effort has been amazing! Every person at that shelter has one thought on their mind:how can I help these animals? It's impossible not to be moved to tears when walking through the shelter and seeing how amazing it is.
Please continue to send me questions that you may have, or rumors you may hear.

Take care, and thank you to everyone who has helped in anyway or simply sent us good thoughts and prayers.

Scot Northern
Cedar Rapids Kennel Association
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Thanks to each of you who reads this, and double, triple quadruple thanks to all who act. :')

Life is beautiful!!!!

Let's do what we can to help these babies have beautiful lives.


  1. Will definitely donate to this very worthy cause, Lynilu. Our animals/pets are precious. Thank you for posting this !

  2. Thanks to YOU for posting this. We sometimes forget about the pets in disasters like this. I remember my mother-in-law had to sign a form when she moved into senior citizen housing stating that in case of fire or other disaster she would leave her pet behind rather than try to save it. That was the only way she could stay at that place (rent was subsidized so she had no other choice either).

  3. Annie, thank you. Our world would be out of balance without them in our lives, wouldn't it?

    Dave,I understand the need for an agency such as that to have to draw that line. Their first priority must be the humans, of course. The large organizations like that don't understand how important our animals are to us. They are family, friends, loved ones to us. thanks for stopping by, Dave.


If you have something to say about it, just stick out your thumb, and I'll slow down so you can hop aboard! But hang on, 'cause I'm movin' on down the road!!! No time to waste!!!