Last week I wrote about a hoarding bust that took place on July 3rd about an hour outside of Nashville, dubbed Operation Freedom Dogs. Over 100 dogs were liberated from disgusting conditions and taken to an emergency shelter near Foster House.
Foster Dad and I spent the weekend volunteering with them, feeding the dogs their special diet, lugging crates around and cleaning up their business. While a handful of the pups seem thrilled to be sprung from their hell on earth and ready to start their new life, the majority of them are terrified. Most of them cowered in the back of their crates when we opened the doors. They were all covered in bloated ticks. Some wouldn’t eat. One is so pregnant she’s about to pop. One is blind. It was exhausting, dirty, heartbreaking work, but we felt good knowing that those dogs would never have to suffer again. For the rest of their lives, they’d be safe, fed clean food & water every day, and get medical attention they need.
But then, just days later, Animal Rescue Corps got an emergency call from the White County sheriff’s department, asking for help in responding to yet another animal cruelty situation, at a property that had been operating as an “animal sanctuary.”
Most of the animals are underweight, suffering from external parasites, and have untreated wounds. Their living conditions were hazardous to their physical, social, and emotional well being and no animals had access to clean water or sufficient food.
And so 24 chickens, 12 rabbits, 12 dogs, 7 cats, 6 ducks, 3 turtles, a goose, a goat, a donkey and even some goldfish joined the Freedom Dogs at the emergency shelter…Operation Freedom Part 2.
I haven’t been able to get back to the emergency shelter since the new crew has come in. Honestly, it’s taken me several days to get this post together, because I just haven’t wanted to sit down and write it. It’s hard sometimes to be optimistic about the rescue work you’re doing when you see so much neglect in such a short period of time. It’s hard to think about how many more animals are in similar situations right now, suffering – because no one but their abusers know they exist.
But then I hear that one of the volunteers has already adopted all of the goldfish, and that all of the cats have been taken in by a local cat rescue group. Most of the dogs are eating now, and Agape Animal Rescue is going to take a dozen of them into our adoption program. I see that Goat and Donkey have been reunited, and in the words of The Turtles, are so happy to-ge-theeeeeeeeer!
So Foster Dad and I will buck up, strap on our hard soled shoes and ARC volunteer t-shirts and head back to the emergency shelter this weekend. We’ll either be scooping poop, cleaning dog cages, or maybe get our first lesson in chicken wrangling. Whatever they need. For the animals.
If you live in the Nashville area and would like to help, the emergency shelter is in desperate need of supplies and volunteers:
We are in continual need of volunteers at our emergency shelter (at the Tennessee State Fairgrounds) over the course of the next week or two. While we have a strong need for individuals with previous ARC training and/or emergency rescue experience, we are happy to welcome new volunteers looking to learn the ropes! If you are comfortable around a variety of animals and can give your time on our 9am-1pm or 1pm-5pm shifts, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your contact information and any relevant skills/experience so that our volunteer coordinator can contact you if needed.
We are currently in need of the following supplies, which can be delivered to the Vaughn Building at the Tennessee State Fairgrounds: puppy pads, latex-free gloves, dust/surgical masks, paper towels, large KONG dog toys, creamy peanut butter, equine pine/pine shavings, breeder maintenance chicken scratch, goat and donkey feed, duck and geese feed, & rabbit food.
If you don’t live in Nashville but would still like to help, you can donate on Animal Rescue Corps website, or to Agape Animal Rescue. The twelve dogs we take in are surely going to need some extended medical care and attention – I heard an estimate of about $3000 per dog…yikes! I don’t know which ones they will be yet, but I can’t wait to introduce them to you.