OHS Emergency Response Volunteers Assist ASPCA with Ongoing Rescues

OHS volunteers respond to ongoing rescue efforts

Long after a big rescue or disaster fades from the headlines, the need for help continues. OHS responders recently assisted with two on-going ASPCA rescue efforts that required specialized skills. Each of the responding volunteers is certified in Emergency Animal Sheltering (EAS), through FEMA training and hands-on exercises. There are 121 OHS staff and volunteers, certified in EAS, who can assist with disasters and large rescues – at home, throughout the region and across the country. In 2017, OHS deployed 17 teams.

Caring for birds from a cockfighting case

When OHS put the call out for volunteers to assist the ASPCA with caring for birds from a cockfighting case, Malyia Pladziewicz was one of the first to respond. This was new territory for Malyia, who usually works with dogs.

During her deployment Malyia was part of a team that cared for hundreds of birds. Each day they cleaned cages, fed, watered and provided enrichment for the birds. The intense heat made the work challenging and exhausting. Although she didn’t have any experience with roosters or hens, she was able to pick up on some bird body language and became comfortable knowing when the birds were being friendly and seeking attention. The birds would get especially excited for food; rushing to the front of their cages in anticipation. Cheerios and berries were two of the enrichment tools used to help the birds have fun and release excess energy. She noted that it was “very cute” how the birds knew the routine and could get very talkative and run to the front of their cage. The last two days of her deployment she cared for the chicks and adolescent birds. Her favorite moment was seeing the chicks huddled closely together by the warming lamps.

Maylia sums up her deployment as “stressful, but rewarding.”

Thank you Malyia for caring for these animals in need!

Victims of dog fighting get a second chance

Volunteers Sherry Adams and Jamie Kline were originally scheduled to also help care for birds from the cockfighting case, but they were needed at a separate on-going rescue effort that involved caring for dogs. Being flexible is critical when you are an EAS volunteer. Priorities and schedules can change quickly depending on need.

The focus of Sherry and Jamie’s work was daily care for dogs – cleaning kennels, walking, feeding and providing enrichment. Spending one-on-one time with the dogs also allowed Sherry and Jamie to help them work on basic manners and behaviors that would increase their chances of being adopted. “I love how excited the dogs are to see and interact with people – so many wiggle-butts,” says Jamie.

Sherry worked with one dog who was terrified of crossing thresholds. She got to know the dog and realized that his fear was really a cry for affection. If she knelt down, he ran to her for affection and would cross any threshold. It was a heartbreaking realization to know that these dogs were so desperate for love after being through so much.

Jamie noted that she “really got her workout in” when she was preparing and distributing a unique enrichment toy for the dogs. Bowling balls were stuffed with peanut butter and then frozen. The big dogs love to roll them around and lick out their treat.

There were many special “goodbyes” during their time working with the dogs as some were ready for adoption and left for the final step in their rescue.

Both volunteers returned to OHS after their deployment with sore muscles and a full heart. Jamie calls her experience, “amazing.” Sherry noted that “It was so worth it. I would deploy again next week, if asked to do so. “

Thank you Sherry and Jamie!