01 May Service Trip 2023: Day 2 Camden
Camden Animal Shelter
By: Mindi Greenberg
They say there is such a thing as a “heart dog”. Each person gets one or two in their lives. These dogs just find their way into your heart, and there is no doubt that you were always meant to be together. You can love other dogs; they can even be your true family. But your heart dog is extra special.
I picked up my heart dog on March 16, 2020. I thought she was only going to be with me for the two-weeks, when everything was to be shut down. Well, we all know how that turned out… I had no idea how special she was at first – I was too focused on the shock of the world at that time. Half the rescue knew, and they told me that she decided she was home. She was so smart, so it’s no surprise that she was right.
A few months after Coco came to my house, she started having seizures. After many trips to the vet and multiple calls with the medical team, we decided to place Coco in the hospice program. I was lucky to be her hospice foster- but even better, her mama. We spent an amazing 13 months together, and I am grateful for every second.
Coco, my Sweet Baby Girl, had been with other fosters up North for about five or six years. I didn’t know her past beyond that. I always just assumed that if anyone still had her Southern foster contact information, that they would share. I never asked, but I should have…
So, while I was walking past a group of long-time volunteers, they stopped me to say – “Hey, did you know Jennifer was Coco’s Southern foster?” I stopped in my tracks, and I probably forgot to go back to whatever task I had been working on before. I had to know more. I had to tell her about how special our love was. It turns out that another foster, Holli, had also been very active in Coco’s life in the South.
Needless to say, there were tears. Coco had a very tough start to life. She had a lot of fears and triggers. But she was also so loving, and importantly, so loved.
I didn’t think I would get to meet my girl’s first parents. I had no idea when I pulled into the shelter, started walking dogs, and tried to fix some kennel covers, that I would have such a heartfelt experience that day. A lot of other Northern fosters request to go to the shelters where their pets were from. I didn’t, and yet, I ended up there. And I am beyond happy that I was able to do that.
While we were there, I fell in love with two babies. They are not my heart dogs, just loves. They are a bonded pair of pitties – one male, one female. I called them Handsome and Pretty, because those names described them perfectly. We went for a nice long walk before putting them back in their large enclosure. So, we were pretty surprised to see Handsome come over to us a little later. He broke out of the enclosure, although he seemed to want us to go back to it. Pretty tried to follow him out and got stuck between the fence links. Her hind legs weren’t long enough to push up against the ground and through the hole. He patiently let us leash him up and sat while seven of us worked together to get her out. They gave us kisses before we put them back in, tying up the hole in the fence a bit better.
Others were putting together large crates that the shelter can use for sick dogs who need to be kept separate. Some put together ceiling fans to be added to the structure. Yet others bathed every dog at the shelter- over fifty! We worked side-by-side with our Southern counterparts from H&P Alliance, sharing stories and bonding in general. We ate lunch together, sweat together, and got sun burnt together. When we left, we could see the work we had done. A small group planned to return the next day to finish up some projects. Overall, the dogs were better off, and the Southern volunteers who already do so much would have a few more resources to continue the amazing work they do.
It was an extra-special day for me. It was also extra-special for many of those pups who may never have the chance to leave the shelter. The bond we build with our Southern fosters while working together down here is something I will be forever grateful for. Thank you to the volunteers who make sure the pups at the shelter in Camden get to have their best chance for furever.
Camden Animal Shelter
By: Kirsten Chervinsky
Waking up to rain and thunder isn’t pleasant. The wet dogs would soon see the LHK9 volunteers who were returning to Camden with tarps. Future rainstorms would be less wet.
Maura, Eddie, and Kirsten returned to OCAP. They were met by Jen, Dustin, Trishy, and Brenda. The day was spent hanging ceiling fans and installing kennel covers. The irony of putting up kennel covers in the rain wasn’t lost on anyone in the group.
Beyond projects, the LHK9 crew provided TLC, to a few of the dogs met on the previous day. Buckle, a shy baby who will warm up to treats and cuddles, is a 5+ year old brindle who needs a home. Jessica, stands atop her igloo, to survey the world, and accepts cuddles readily. Goliath is a majestic gentle giant, who stole Eddie’s heart. Finally there were 9 puppies who the LHK9 group are honored to name.
The OCAP crew was so appreciative of the Last Hope K9 effort and will be left with permanent improvements that will be used on a daily basis. In return LHK9 appreciates how much this group is able to do with an annual budget of slightly over 71K, which includes a salaried position and any needs they have to keep the kennel going. This isn’t possible without donations and volunteer assistance.
Thirteen dry puppies
Tarps & Fans have been dealt with
Our work here is done