Tugs on the Heart Strings

By Taylor Poisall, American Red Cross Public Affairs

When you help at a shelter or go on what we at the Red Cross call a “deployment”, there are of number of tugs on your heart strings after each one. Red Crossers often share their mission moments with each other and this one is mine from the French Fire. 

Kathy greeting her Spartacus

I met Kathy Tuesday night in the middle of mandatory evacuation orders being issued and setting up the second Red Cross shelter. When I saw a woman walking up clutching her dog and her cane, I knew I needed to help her. She was distraught because her other dog had run off when the knock on the door came that they had to evacuate immediately.  

She didn’t know what to do next, and that’s where the Red Cross came in. They checked her in and got her a medical cot to make her comfortable. Then they walked her over to where Kern County Animal Services was located for her dog Spartacus. That night, they were sending out teams to rescue pets that had left behind and she gave them Baby Boy’s description.

Another community member staying in the shelter, Carol, was compassionately consoling her. Together through tears, the three of us told each other “we’re all going to get through this together.”

She gratefully expressed, “in a situation that’s so dire, I’m glad the Red Cross was here to help me. You have all been so wonderful to me.”

After Kathy shared her dogs were both safe, these dog lovers took a photo together to remember the moment

The next day, I was able to check in with Kathy again outside the shelter with Spartacus. She felt better when she was holding him tight. She left her phone charger behind and Red Cross volunteers procured one for her so she could call her friend who came to pick her up so she could change into a “pretty outfit”.

The best news of the day was that Kathy shared that Animal Services had rescued her dog Baby Boy and he was reunited with Spartacus. That was the second time Kathy’s story made me shed some tears.

We visited the dogs together and you could tell how much they meant to each other.

Baby Boy, on the left, let us know that he wasn’t going anywhere. He was reunited here with his brother and mom.

As long as emergencies exists, Red Cross volunteers ensure people never face them alone. Bring hope to those in need at redcross.org.

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