Tales (and Tails) of a Benefit for Animals in Hurricanes and Training for Disasters

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 blog 6I was actually on the phone with Michelle Rivera about her kitty Bindi who had passed.  Nothing to do with hurricanes.  Nothing to do with anything else, really, when suddenly we hatched a plan for a benefit for the victims of Hurricane Harvey at that moment.  When in reality, we were facing imminent Irma coming up the pike or up the turnpike in this case.

I’ve known Michelle Rivera forever.  She started her beautiful doggy daycare, Chateau Marmutt in the 90’s in West Hollywood, just down the street from where I lived.  I walked in to see if I could do animal communication sessions out of there and the rest is history.  That was 18 years ago.  Since then I’ve talked to many dogs (and pics of cats), I’ve taught animal communication out of there and we’ve been on Good Morning America together, AMC and more. 

blog 7Red Rover was the perfect beneficiary for our event as they are a group dedicated to going in and making sure families and animals stay together during an evacuation.  In fact, they also have training.

I did the training years ago.  For those that don’t know, after living in LA, I lived in Seattle (for a minute), Denver, South Florida, back up to Seattle and now here in Southern California.  Santa Clarita to be exact, just Northeast of LA.  I’ve been through some disasters!

The first week I moved to Denver, there were wildfires throughout the mountains. People were spray painting their phone numbers on their horses and letting them free because the fire was so fast moving, they didn’t have time to evacuate. 

blog 4I moved in with my soon to be husband (now ex) and lived in a suburb called Golden.  My horses were boarded at a big facility on the way to Boulder. In between there is a fair grounds that was the evacuation center for all of the animals.  I signed up to volunteer, asap.

It was well run and there I was cleaning water buckets for donkeys and generally coming in with great energy in the face of fear.  You could see the stressed owners running in to make sure all was well and then have to go back and deal with their property, if they still had one.

Other than the Northridge earthquake and care for my own horse, that fire was my introduction to largescale disaster.  I signed up immediately for the training in 2000.  Back then I had told Michelle about it at the time and she signed up for the training.  So it was an obvious fit for us to make Red Rover the beneficiary of our event.

blog 3Meanwhile, there is nothing glamorous about the training.  You are not out in wade boots plucking pit bulls from trees.  My skill set as an animal communicator or energy healer held no value for what I learned.  They need people to organize and document animals coming in, horse handlers, dog walkers, cage cleaners, errand runners, garbage picker uppers, etc. 

Yes, it’s great to come in and be in a state of calm for the people and animals in a disaster, but at that point, they are not looking for aromatherapy, they need the brass tacks in this setting.  Which I am more than happy to do.

It’s amazing how many little details these organizations need.  Even the unorganized evacuation centers.  Just show up with tape, paper, clipboards, pens, name tags, staplers and that will be incredibly helpful.  What is not helpful is judgment, opinions and suggestions about care of the animals could be better, if……

And when I can’t be boots on the ground to help (I was down at the LaTuna Fire evacuation center two weekends ago), then I love to raise money.  I’ve done a lot of this over the years, including a wonderful event for Hurricane Katrina with a doggy daycare in Ft. Lauderdale called Central Bark.  That gave me a taste of how to do a fundraiser.  I’ve done many since.

Blog 2I think the most amazing thing about what we did here at the Chateau Marmutt on September 8th is we did it in 8 days!  In 8 days, we had 36 silent auction items,  in 8 days we had food and wine from the fabulous restaurant, Jar.  In 8 days I had 3 of my graduates in line to help, Sally Jenkins who was an extraordinary helper with the event itself and Sharon Nitka and Renee Moritz were expert animal communicators.  On the spot they read dog after dog after dog.

I love bringing my posse of great communicators from my program in and putting them to work.  I love helping my students build their clientele.  I love helping animals and humans in need.  It was a win, win, win, win….ad infinitum night!

For me it was like old home week.  I got to connect with people I hadn’t seen since the 90’s.  I was their first taste of animal communication back then.  While the animals I connected were no longer with them, their new set of animals were just as delightful.

It was a lovely, loving community that spent well $ wise and then the money was matched.  A great time was had by all!!

Watch out, we may do it again. And again! 

Special thanks to Michelle Rivera, the staff at Chateau Marmutt, Jar and the fabulous staff, and the wonderful students of Communication with all Life University: Sally Jenkins, Sharon Nitka and Renee Moritz.

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