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It was a Wednesday evening when I heard Mom telling Gisele, her rescue contact in South Louisiana, “I’ll get supplies and I’ll get them to you somehow.” Mom made a promise to Miss Gisele that she would fill a pickup truck with dog/cat food and cleaning supplies and deliver it to South Louisiana to help four legged flood victims. Mom has a huge heart, but pre planning has never been her forte. In fact, she’s notorious for “winging it”! Naturally I wasn’t surprised that night when Mom tucked me in and told me she needed my help. She said, “Punkin Face, (that’s her personal term of endearment for me) there has been a flood in S. Louisiana of catastrophic proportions. Animals have drowned, others have been rescued, but they are starving and there is no food. Many of the shelters flooded out and are filled with bacteria, mud, sludge and who knows what else.” Mom was teary when she said that she needed my help and wondered if I would put out one of my videos in hopes that my followers would step up to the plate and bring supplies to our home on Friday and Saturday of that week.
I slept fitfully that night remembering how grim my life had been down there on the streets -abused, starving, cold and having had bailing wire twisted around my neck. THAT was grim, but this was exponentially more devastating!
Some dogs had been chained to trees. Some drowned and others hung on for 16+ hours waiting for help.
“Tails” Of The Flood are the stories of Kippers’ Express Flood Relief Angels. Most of us know stories of what actually happened to the animals, through Facebook and the media, but my stories are the stories of a different kind of compassion. The stories of caring. The stories of our lives -helping our neighbors to the south- in Louisiana.
Mom could tell that Gisele was tired and obviously frustrated that they did not have the resources that they needed to take care of these animals.
Remember, these animal rescue angels also had families to worry about, as well as their own animals and yet they were doing a yeoman’s job to save them.
My heart hurt.
Dad asked Mom how she planned on pulling off her promise to Gisele and she said, “Mr. Kippers will get the word out and I’ll orchestrate it.” Dad has a lot of faith in Mom and me and he’s always incredibly supportive of anything we do. He was on board 100%. The next morning Mom unceremoniously awakened me, I like to sleep in you know, but she patted me and said, “Kippers, it’s showtime!” Whenever Mom says “showtime” I know that we have to go to work! Work for me always starts with a video or photo shoot or making me get on the iPad to write this blog. Regardless, my mission in life is to “pay forward” my good fortune.
I began by putting on what I call my “Gloucester rain gear” and doing a short video.
Dad put tarps on the entrance hall and dining room rugs where donations would be placed and Mom called her photo journalist friend, Henrietta Wildsmith, at The Shreveport Times and explained the urgency of my mission. Within an hour Miss Henrietta was here with her cameras and videoed Mom and me as we told our plans. Miss Henrietta immediately put it on The “Times Online”. She in turn told Maggie Martin at The Times and the next day I was on the front page with my Kippers’ Express Flood Relief Story.
Auntie Susan, Dad and Mom continually received donations for not two, but for four days. We were really filling up the house! And, with these generous donations came stories that renewed our family’s faith in humanity. Truthfully we knew 90% of the people who came those first four days. Mom saw her childhood friends and high school friends donate and donate and donate. In fact, in the almost four years of my mission to raise funds for abused and abandoned animals, some of Mom’s greatest support has come from those with whom she attended Saint Vincent’s Academy. I can tell you that these ladies of the “Periwinkle Blue Blazer Brigade” have moved heaven and earth in their support of not only this flood relief effort, but in every project I have undertaken to help abused and abandoned animals. It’s been 44 years since Mom and these ladies graduated from SVA. Their lives have taken them from one end of the United States to the other, but that has not stopped their desire to participate. Help comes often from Tacoma Washington, Houston Texas, Crosby Texas, Hendersonville, North Carolina and Dallas, Tx. And then there are those classmates who live here…they’ve bought my Classic Kippers’ products, they’ve cheered me on as Grand Marshal and King of Barkus and Meoux, attended parades and visited me when I was in the hospital…. they came in force with donations for our four legged flood victims. Mom was overwhelmed, especially when she looked up and saw one sweet friend who had just buried her wonderful father. There were so many more- longtime friends, new friends and people my mother has met through rescue. To each and everyone of you, my most heartfelt thanks.
Dad said, “We are going to need a bigger truck!” Boy was he correct!!!
AND SO IT BEGAN! AT FIRST JUST A FEW ITEMS…
I DID FREQUENT SUPPLY CHECKS AS THE SUPPLIES STACKED UP!
SOPHIE PEACH REPORTED ON INVENTORY!
MASTER KIRBY IS TOO LITTLE TO DO MUCH JUST YET, BUT HE DID ENJOY PLAYING KING OF THE MOUNTAIN ON THE BAGS OF PET FOOD!
One of Mom’s oldest friends, Miss Coco, practically bought out Sam’s on my behalf. She is indeed her wonderful father’s daughter and will talk to anyone who will listen. Miss Coco also has a super voice for communicating, as it carries well.
So, true to form, she was telling someone why she was purchasing a plethora of animal necessities, as well as enough bleach and Dawn to keep the shelter going for at least a year! And beach towels- 60 plus. And THAT was SOME of her FIRST run! As she regaled the Sam’s employee with my story, a woman and a man (who turned out to be the woman’s grown son) listened too. When Miss Coco finished her spiel, the woman and her son approached her and EACH handed Miss Coco $100 bill to go toward Mr KIPPERS’ EXPRESS flood relief. The son said he had lived in Denham Springs, though he was now working in Alaska- yet they both wanted to help. The next act of kindness came on the dog food aisle when a fireman, in uniform, asked Miss Coco if that 500 pounds of dog food she was loading was for her dogs. She laughed, said no, and quickly explained again about Mr KIPPERS’ EXPRESS Flood Relief. Bless his heart, he took a $20 bill out of his wallet, then proceeded to pick up another big bag of dog chow to add to her cart! When this red headed “best cheerleader ever” returned to my house, she handed Mom the $200 and told her the story behind it, as well as the kindness of the wonderful fireman. Both Mom and Miss Coco were teary because in this day and age of unkind acts and people NOT showing respect for one another, THREE STRANGERS, within a matter of 45 minutes, stepped up to help! What Mom didn’t know at the time was that what had happened at Sam’s Club was just the beginning of incredible acts of kindness that we would see in the days to come.
We had veterinarians challenge other veterinarians and boy did the supplies start rolling in- BIG TIME. Doctors Nancy Treadwell, Keith Ratcliff and Gary Dupree take a bow and accept my most heart felt thanks! Woof, woof aroooooo!
Miss Coco challenged her sister, Miss Nancy, who is summering in Scotsdale, AZ to match her purchases. I thank them from the bottom of my bully little heart, but I think Sam’s Club should send them a thank you note!!
A friend in Connecticut, Miss Sue, who has supported Mr Kippers’ Classic Kippers cause since its inception, recently lost her mother. It was the family’s request that memorials be sent to Classic Kippers. It all happened about the time of the flood, so I suggested that those funds be directed to help animal refugees of this catastrophe event. They agreed and I am honored by their kindness, their generosity and the generosity of their friends.
My “Houston Honey” Miss Izzie, is somewhat the spokesperson for the “Sheltie Nation”. When Miss Izzie found out what was happening in Louisiana, her mom Miss Helen’s home state, she put out an immediate SOS on her page. Wow! The Shelties put the pressure on and checks started arriving. Shelties in North Carolina, Indiana and Ohio met the call!
One of the shares was from Dr. Jane who put it out to the med students at LSU . WOWZER!! On Saturday morning, if one had an emergency then our house was the place to be- we were ” medically covered ” so to speak. Yep, those med students heeded the call! And if that weren’t enough, Dr Jane and Miss Donna quietly and most generously gave and gave and gave. They responded to our request for not only the basics on the lists, but enough airline approved shipping crates to help get a sizable number of homeless pets up North to forever homes! The manager of PetCo even delivered them himself! You see, some of the animals in the shelters, who had no homes, were being shipped out to northern rescues and shelters. That allowed the animals who have been separated from their people in the flood, to be housed at the shelters down south until they can be reunited with their owners.
“Heroes are people who rise to the occasion and slip quietly away.” We had several of those donate to my Kippers’ Express Flood Relief. The first was a man who bore the weight of massive genetic abnormalities. Dad and others were helping to unload two cars which had pulled up. Mom noticed a man struggling to get out of the third car and raced out to help. He steadied himself on his car door to stand and reached for her hand. In it he placed a tightly folded $20 bill. He said “It’s all I have, but I want the animals to have it.” Pure selflessness…
The second was a lady who gave Mom a handful of $1.00 bills. It was all she had to give as well, but she looked into Mom’s eyes and said, “I want to help.” Mom hugged her and said you have, more than you know. Later Mom said that what those two people gave was worth more than the face value of the bills. She gave what she had and slipped quietly away…
Please stay tuned for more “Tails of the Flood”.