Sunday, September 6, 2009

Katrina

Irony hangs in the billowing clouds of dust tracing trucks across the dirt parking lot, bringing relief supplies for hurricane victims. Grey paint flecks and cracks around rusty splotches on the metal awning over the dock, heat of the September afternoon causes it to pop at random intervals, the tick of a broken clock. Like ants to their hole, vehicles march to the off loading point filled with stuff...toys, clothes, water, food and boxes of blood stained rags.

Splatters of faded brown blood dance across the off white terry cloth rags, brought from the hospital where they can no longer be used. My afternoon is spent digging through clear plastic bags, stuffed in corrugated cardboard boxes, separating the usable, minimally stained from the completely nasty.

Good..Good...Uggh..Uggh..Good...Uggh...

Bags after bag, after bag, after bag...

The good ones are folded, while the others are put in a pile for destruction. Rubber gloves do nothing for the distinctly human smell that rises each time the flaps were folded back on a new load, causing nose hairs to twitch in retreat. I start to wonder who would use these?

Giving voice to my question, another aid worker explains they are used for rescued animals who may one day be returned to their owners. I won't lie my first thought is why am I doing this when I could be helping someone. Then my thoughts catch on a family, having lost everything, one day seeing the puppy they love race across the lawn into their waiting arms, and that making all the difference in the world.

One life touches one life, touches one life...and life gets a whole lot better.

[Thanks for all the love on my previous post. It meant a lot to me.]

33 comments:

scarlethue said...

If I hadn't moved away to another country the very day Katrina hit, I would have driven the four hours south specifically to help rescue and shelter lost pets. I don't have any talents with helping people, but I know the joy animals bring to people's lives and could have helped there. Bless you for being there and helping! One more life touched :)

Kathy's Klothesline said...

Pets are family members, too. Thank you for realizing what they would mean to those who lost everything.

Kathy's Klothesline said...

Pets are family members, too. Thank you for realizing what they would mean to those who lost everything.

Baino said...

Brian every little thing helps, no matter how insignificant or unimportant it might seem at the time. Whether it's making a sandwich for a firefighter or weilding the hose, all are integral parts of the human charitable machine and one cannot perform without the other. Hope you've cheered up a little. Tough times I know. Big hugs from down under!

Joanna Jenkins said...

How awesome that you were able to help. I take my hat off to you.

Kay said...

you really are an awesome person!

Kay said...

P.S. Karma will find its way :)

Cinnamon said...

Interesting....you are making me think about what is significant and what is important.

Maggie May said...

Sometimes a catastrophe like Katrina can seem so huge that we feel nothing that we do will make any difference.
However, as you pointed out........ there is ALWAYS something that CAN be done to help victims, both human & animal. Thank Goodness there are people like you who make that difference.

Alan Burnett said...

I remember having almost the same discussion some 40 years ago when I served on a committee which was planning for the evacuation of London in the even of tidal flooding. Should pets be rescued along with people. Your post brought that discussion back to me as though it was yesterday.

Ekanthapadhikan said...

You are absolutely right. Pets (especially dogs) do make a difference in your life.

Loved the way you said - "One life touches one life, touches one life...and life gets a whole lot better". That was very inspiring.

Lorraine said...

beautiful...pets are sent to give us unconditional Love, the least we can do is make sure they're well andhappy...wishing you the best Brian

Wings said...

Definitely one of those jobs I would have never thought existed.

otin said...

Pets are soooo important, they bring comfort and love and never ask for anything but attention and love in return. I think that you were doing a great thing!!!!

Daniel said...

I'm not sure I get it. What are the used rags for? What do they have to do with helping reunite pets with their owners. Isn't handling of blood contaminated materials in this manner inconsistent with OSHA standards for dealing with contaminated waste. Help me out here big guy.

darsden said...

Awesome post, and you are Awesome for helping. You know first hand like I do.. Oh my how we needed you and all the others and you came. Thank YOU!

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

You know, there is so much clarity here. Sometimes certain "service" chores aren't clear until seen through other perspectives.

smiles4u said...

It sounds like you were positively affected by this act of service. So often in giving of ourselves we get so much back. It's really great that you took the time to help out.

IB said...

Having never lived through a disaster of such proportion (fingers crossed I never have to), it never occurred to me such work was being done. Good for you for doing it and good for those you helped with your loving efforts. How cool is that?

IB

Ronda Laveen said...

A while back, I saw a program on The Dog Whisperer where they reunited dogs with their families. In some cases it took a while to find the owner and for the owner to be in a position to provide a home again.

I can't even tell you how hard I cried. Still brings tears to my eyes. All work is God's work. Who are we to try to discern how it all will play out.

Joseph Pulikotil said...

Hi Brian:)

Greetings:)

I am moved by the first hand information you have so vividly described.

The massiveness of the operation can be understood by your description ---LIKE ANTS TO THEIR HOLE, VEHICLES MARCH TO THE OFF LOADING POINT FILLED WITH STUFF.

You are truly blessed to take part in the relief operation.

It is amazing how pets bring joy to people who are devastated by the havoc created by the vicious Katrina. I wonder why this beautiful name was given to this demon!

Parts of India suffered on account of Psunami. Many people lost their lives and property. Sometimes it is difficult to understand how a Katrina or a Psunami can destroy the earning of a life time and people have to start all over again.

Have a nice day Brian:)
Joseph

Lola said...

And on top of it all, Brian is a volunteer caregiver during Katrina...

"One life touches one life, touches one life...and life gets a whole lot better." Priceless.

You, my friend, are an absolute gem.
Ciao amico,

Lola xx

Rita said...

Brian, I am more a lurker then a commenter on your blog but I wanted to let you know that I do pop in and out to catch up with your postings.

Love you stuff and wish I had your talent.

If you ever get that novel published please let me know. I want to be first in line at the book store.

PS. I also wanted to say that I appreciate the nice comments you leave my way. I will work harder at returning them.

Candie Bracci said...

That is also one beautiful post Brian!Much love to you always!

blueviolet said...

I think it's wonderful that you spent time volunteering. Anything you did was a help and a blessing.

The Things We Carried said...

This post got me!

TechnoBabe said...

Don't you think that every job is important. One person is not more important based on what job they perform. We are all necessary to keep things going.

Betsy said...

I agree with Baino ~ every little act and good deed form together to bring about some kind of healing. You are right...a family who lost everything would be so uplifted seeing their pet come back safe.

only a movie said...

Awesome. I wished I could have gone down to help.

Hit 40 said...

Thank you for putting on rubber gloves to sift through the trash for us!! I saw news stories of families crying when they were reunited with their pets. You helped make this possible for them. :-)

Stacy (the Random Cool Chick) said...

Very cool. Like Kathy said, pets are family members too. Love hearing how people pitched in to help, in every capacity. :)

The Retired One said...

You are so right. One random act of kindness makes such a difference to the recipient. You don't think a little tiny thing makes a difference in someone's day, but it does.
Sometimes very significantly so.
You have such a kind, loving heart Brian. The world sees it.

Goofball said...

Every bit of love and warmth...ads love and warmth in this world. We can use all of that. Ranking & labeling help & effort in hierarchies of "better help" "less important", "not so effective" isn't "effective".