Camp Fire Evacuation Center – Day Four

Camp Fire Evacuation Center – Day Four

By Joy Smith

A hug can say so many things. I care about you. Thank you. I’m so sorry for your pain. I can’t take away your sorrow by maybe I can ease it just for a second.

This work of helping animals and their people is big hug territory. Hugging has such comforting powers as we are experiencing so many times all day.

As we go through this venture, each day is dotted with many hugs; some we receive, some we give and many are mutual. We all need those hugs.

Is this really only Day 4? On Friday we started a tiny little evacuation shelter in the lobby of the expo building at the Yuba Sutter Fairgrounds. Last night we moved our operation to the Sutter County Sheriff posse hall. A small herd of volunteers and county staff packed us up – cats and all – and moved us to our new location. NOW, this is a place to have an evacuation shelter! We estimate we can safely house 120 cats or more. By safely, I mean providing appropriate space for each cat to be housed comfortably and as stress free as possible while they are our guests.

We provide 24 hour care and owners can come to visit their cats. We have mountains of donations for cat owners to supply them with everything they need to care for their kitties while they’re navigating the next step in their lives.

A community of people are there for each anguished cat owner who walks in to search for their missing cat. Advice is shared while they tell us stories and show us pictures of their kitties. At the end of the conversation, a hug.

The donors and volunteers are coming in droves; just to show how much they care by donating whatever we need to keep the cats….and their people safe and comfortable.

Our shelter isn’t nearly or even close to full yet. As the need grows and other shelters closer to the fire areas fill up the animals are being referred to the dog and cat shelters at the Yuba County Fairgrounds. NVDAG is the outstanding organization that is the primary provider of sheltering for the CampFire but their shelters are at capacity. The added space we can provide is literally saving 100’s more animals.

Yesterday we received our first five fire-area rescue cats.

Today I met one of my idols. I was so honored to spend an ENTIRE day learning from Becky Robinson from Alley Cat Allies! Becky and her team brought car loads of donations, supplies, treats and a train load of expertise. She pitched in with greeting people, caring for cats, setting up equipment, making phone calls and whatever else was needed at that moment. I feel so much richer than I did this morning, thanks to Becky.

Extending thanks to so many for your outpouring of generosity. And kindness.

County Supervisors Mat Conant, Mike Leahy – Yuba County Supervisor District 2, Yuba County Office of Emergency Services, County of Sutter Office of Emergency Management (OEM), Sutter County Sheriff’s Posse– Thank you ALL for your assistance in moving the cats to a safer (and larger!) location. You all are truly a friend to the animals.

Thank you for your support, energy, wisdom – and hugs,
Joy Smith

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