Log 12 - 16 September 2005
Our entire team of volunteers will be in the field from now on, and yesterday we had one group devoted to water rescue, while the rest scoured their area on-foot, calling out “here kitty-kitty,” whistling, and following each animal sound they heard.
At one point, their calls were greeted by desperate meows and the team looked up to see three cats staring anxiously at them from the roof of a second-story house. Instead of spending valuable time pulling out their equipment, the team backed their vehicle up under the eaves of the building. The cats had probably sought safety from the flooding by climbing on the roof but had been stranded there for over a week once the waters receded. When our responders climbed up to the roof of the truck and reached out for them, the cats leapt eagerly to safety.
A short while later, one of the responder’s whistling was answered by a bird chirping. Our responders followed the sound to a house, which had already been searched by federal teams, meaning all they had to do to gain access was rip open the duct tape on the window. Inside, they found a parakeet in a cage, calling out loudly, as if in relief, at the sight of our team. But when Bill picked up the cage to carry it to the vehicle, he found rabbit droppings underneath. Bill told me he thought, “Now that’s strange. Parakeets don’t poop rabbit droppings.” So the team began a thorough search of the house, quietly checking behind doors and lifting furniture. Finally, they found the pet rabbit crouched under an armchair, and both the rabbit and bird were loaded into the truck.
But work at that house wasn’t done yet. During their search for the rabbit, they discovered an aquarium with a fish and a frog. The fish seemed pretty content, but the poor frog was exhausted. The aquarium had become filled to the brim with flood water, and without being able to climb onto something to rest or escape the smooth-walled container the frog had been forced to swim for days to keep from drowning.
Out on the street again, the team got information from federal emergency personnel that there was a dog in a house down the street that was in a very bad state. What our responders found at the address was a devastated house, its floor coated in several inches of mud and mold. When they entered, they immediately spotted the dog -- a schnauzer that stood frozen on the couch. As if shell-shocked, the dog didn’t respond to having strangers in his house or even seem to notice them at all. He just stood where he was, staring into space. The team got him into a crate to be brought back to the shelter.