We've spent hours making plans with substantial help from Cindy Ehlers of Animal Assisted Crisis Response. Fortunately, things are coming together well: the Steisel Family in Burlington is allowing us to stay with them which means we have air conditioning and hot water; the roads are open; we have friends in Burlington that have helped us prepare.
We've seen several online articles which discuss the devastation in the area. Everything from the overwhelming number of pigs who have drowned to the crops that will not make it to harvest. People have lost their livelihoods, homes and possessions.
It is a common conversation in our home: do our visits have a place in the community? Especially in a devastated area. Do we really make a difference just by being present? I've discussed this with other teams who have been involved with Delta Society for years who always assure us me that, yes, in fact, our contributions are valuable. Heddie shared some very poignant emails with me this past week, communication she received after volunteering in Parkersburg. I know our doubts will be replaced with certainty in a few hours. They always nag at this point, though, just hours before visits.
I know that the only way we capture the human-animal bond is in our heart, in places we don't see. And I think of the time I spend at ChildServe and Orchard Place and how much the children look forward to seeing our Pet Partners. I suspect that it is our dogs that know the value in what they do. As handlers, we have the amazing opportunity to watch them work and witness the impact they have on others.
My hope is that we will find internet access in Burlington so that we can continue to communicate during the next three days, Nicole