Camp Fire Evacuation Center – Day Three

Camp Fire Evacuation Center – Day Three

By Joy Smith

I know I should be in bed asleep but I just can’t seem to wind down.

So many people that have lost so much. Yet remaining positive and grateful for the little bit we can do. Giving them a place where their pets can be safe, warm and cared for seems like so little but to them it is an enormous gift.

A man came in with a carrier occupied by two cats. He has some physical disabilities which, he explained to me, was the result of having been in a coma for 18 months. The carrier felt like it had 5 cats at it when I picked it up. “Spaz” reportedly weighs in at about 30 lbs!

We have some non-feline guests. Four parakeets, two hermit crabs, a chubby bearded dragon, a guinea pig and a chameleon. Some came to the shelter because the RV their family is staying in at the fairgrounds is a bit crowded with 10 people!

The people who streamed through the door all day long bringing donations, asking what can they do to help. “What do you need?” was heard over and over and over all day long. Such a wave of love and compassion.

In turn, each of the donations is handed to a person who has lost everything but their pets. Thank you for making it possible for us to pile your gifts of food and supplies into the arms of someone who suddenly has so little. And, for whom those gifts mean so much.

The girl who came in to donate the harness from her husky who had gone to the Rainbow Bridge. With tears welling in eyes she wrote a note about her dog to whomever would receive the harness. A precious gift to be given to an unknown stranger.

There was that gut-wrenching moment when I glanced at my phone while helping someone. The message I saw split my heart in pieces. The loss seemed overwhelming. As the tears flowed I found myself wrapped in the arms of strangers, people who had lost so much but so very quick to comfort an unknown.

So many emotions but mostly right now I think I’m feeling grateful. Grateful for the opportunity to be able to help people and their animals at a time of despair.

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