Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Tbar Helps after Hurricane Ike

When the members of True Blue Animal Rescue heard about the devastation in Houston after Hurricane Ike came through the area they asked people to donate items and bring them to Parcel Plus in Brenham, Texas. Monetary donations were used to purchase more feed and supplies for the animals. Thanks to the generous response by caring people True Blue Animal Rescue Volunteers were able to bring a trailer and pick up truck load of dog food, cat food, horse feed and other supplies to the Houston SPCA on September 19th. We were met by volunteer coordinator Tim Raeke and other grateful people who helped us unload this bounty onto pallets so it could be handed out to people who were going back out to locations where animals are being cared for or given to foster homes picking up homeless animals or fed to the 100s of animals coming into the SPCA that have been displaced by Hurricane Ike. They were very happy to see such a large donation of supplies coming to them from Brenham, TX and we were glad to bring it. 

The trailer of d onations after we had already started unloading things onto pallets. 

Upon our return to Brenham we loaded up two trailers full of hay and used donated money to purchase 20 bags of horse feed so we could help the large animals that had no hay after Hurricane Ike ravaged the area and left the fields wet and mucky in it's wake. On Sept. 21st we went to Anahuac, TX, west of Beaumont and found that they had just received a load of hay and bags of feed that day. The only things they needed from our load was the water trough from Kaleigh and a large bag of cat litter that had been don ated. We were happy to see that some people had already brought the much needed supplies to this park where small animals were being kept until their owners could come for them. 

The next place on our route was Fannett, a town 30 miles closer to Beaumont. We were directed to the Labelle-Fannett Fire Dept., a local Point of Distribution or POD, where people were lined up in their cars to pick up water, i ce and MREs. The supplies were passed out to the lines of cars that drove up non stop while we were there. When we came in with hay their faces lit up and they gratefully accepted all of what we brought. The dog food and cat food was placed in the distribution line and passed out to people as they drove through. Meanwhile the ranchers had been called to tell them about the hay and feed we brought with us. The 120 square bales of hay we brought never touched the ground. It went right from our trailer onto the trailers of those who were desperate to feed their starving cattle and horses. 

A Fireman helps unload the hay

We were met with glad faces, pats on the back and even some hugs. Half of our lo ad was split between three ranchers along with some of the 20 bags of feed that we brought. We drove the other 60 bales to a grateful rancher who was overjoyed to see food for his starving cows and all the other displaced cows that had wandered onto his property looking for food and water. The rancher and his teary eyed wife were relieved to see us there with help for their animals. They spoke of the horror of watching the cattle go crazy near the coast from drinking salt water. They said that the cows were running in the streets and charging the people who were trying to help them. Others told stories of the horses who were left tied and ended up jowl deep in water with their necks straining as they concentrated on keeping their noses above water. 
     "We cut 'em loose and let 'em find high ground. That's all we could do before we went in to rescue more of the stranded people" was what one of the Firemen said with a horrified look on his face. "We help the people first but our animals are like family to us so we had to help them too. Thank you for coming and thank you for caring."
The sentiment was the same with everyone we encountered and as we drove away they continued to thank us but the looks on t heir faces was thanks enough. You could see that they felt good knowing that people they never met before from Brenham, TX cared enough to drive three hours to where they were to help them feed their animals. We gave them hope with our little caravan of feed. Their animals will have full bellies tonight and their owners will sleep just a little better knowing that.  
Tbar member Lauren Lee and Colton DeAeth stand on either side of  Karen Reneau. On the right is her Aggie son, Will, and her daughter who is holding a family pet. The Reneau’s are one of the families who were helped by the donations from Brenham.  
The support we brought to these people was only the tip of the iceberg for them and their animals. It will be months before their lives are back to normal. They will continue to need our help and support and the help of everyone who has the means and the time to do whatever they can to help. True Blue Animal Rescue will be working on getting more help to others that have been hurt by Hurricane Ike. Thank you all for your donations, support and well wishes. Without you, we wouldn't be able to help these people and the animals who mean everything to them. 

Melanie DeAeth, President
True Blue Animal Rescue
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