Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Around The Globe Floods Bring Out The Best In Many

When I scroll through my FB news feed and other news channels I use these last weeks, they are full of tragedy, hardships and action around the huge floods that occur worldwide.

From little Alaskan town of Galena on the banks of the mighty Yukon river, that got nearly swept off the surface, to Czech Republic´s capital city of Prague.

The scenes, photographs and videos, but also heartbreaking articles of families losing everything, farm animals escaping from their pastures as rushing water sneaks in at night, to cats in flooded cabins, ZOO animals being evacuated, horses needed to be rescued by firemen from flooded stables, all this makes is hard to bare, hard to keep your mind away from it all, even when you sit thousands of miles away, in a dry place, with all your possessions intact, like me and my dogs.

But tragedy is not what I want to write about and I decided to write this post in honor of all those who help out during these hard times.

So here are a few "clips" I noticed and collected, that did not leave my eyes dry, as I am touched to see so much human spirit out there and I feel somehow euphoric, when seeing all the good stuff going on. Mostly, you will hear how terrible people are, how terribly we treat animals and nature, and while that is a sad true with many, there are also folks with heart and sense for selfless help.

This picture of a man and his kennel of sled dogs, as they evacuate from their home in Alaskan Galena has made it into all sorts of media. It evokes many feelings - the devotion of this man to his dogs, the faith these dogs have in their master.

Photo courtesy of Ed Plumb, The National Weather Service

The small town of Galena, maybe known to some of you as one of the checkpoints on the famous "Last Great Race On Earth" Iditarod, was hit by the late spring brake up of the massive Yukon River. The water and melting ice fled into the town so fast, leaving even the experienced villagers totally unprepared. They thought they had days to prepare, instead some had only minutes!!!
Many sled, hunting and pet dogs are kept in areas like this, and sled dog kennels usually count dozens of dogs. It can be very challenging to evacuate an entire kennel.

Today I got the information that evacuated sled dogs from flooded Galena had been given a temporary housing at other sled dog kennels in Two Rivers, Fairbanks, Tanana and other Alaskan locations.

It doesn´t surprise me at all to learn that champion mushers Aliy Zirkle and Allen Moore, and their SP Kennel, opened their hearts and doors to 16 of Galena´s sled dogs in need. Please, take a minute to visit their website and thank them.
Way to go to all the mushers who made space in their kennels and took in dogs!

Also pet dogs effected by the floods are partially sheltered at boarding kennels.

Galena dog "Norman" after receiving help and treatment of his flood caused injury
This morning I came across this story:

"Galena "Norman" gets a fresh start thanks to Margaret Eastman and the North Pole Vetinarians. Just three days ago "Norman" was living on a Yukon River boat watching as his home flooded with icy water and ice chunks. Sometime during this water born life he ripped a hole in his leg so when he arrived here on dry ground in Two Rivers a lot of time had passed since the injury. Fortunately, North Pole Veterinarians were willing and able to patch him up so he can still pursue his life as a sleddog. Thanks also to Heather Hamblin who took the time to transport him!"

Norman´s injury
After surgery
Saved, treated and fed
Pictures of "Norman" are courtesy of and are used with the permission of Judy Currier.

Here is one of the several ways how you can help folks and their animals, many of whom lost everything, including homes: Yukon Flood Relief Fundraiser.

While people in Alaska help the residents of Galena and their animals by donating food, housing, money and also transport, thousands of miles across the ocean, another dramatic battle is fought.

The race to save the Prague ZOO in the capital city of Czech Republic. This little country lays literally in the heart of Europe and together with it´s neighbors - Germany and Austria, witnesses heartbreaking floods of basically all it´s rivers and creeks. Nearly the entire small Czech Republic is under water due to heavy rains and very late spring break.

Staff and volunteers of the Prague ZOO evacuating penguins and sea lions
The entire lower part of the Prague ZOO is destroyed and under water. In 2002, when the so called "thousand year water" rushed through the city, the ZOO was severely damaged and it took long time to get it back in order. Due to bad decision from the city magistrate, the ZOO was not included into flood protection plan that was assembled for the city. The Prague ZOO was left on their own. And today, all their reconstructing efforts vanished together with corrals, enclosures, pavilions and feed. But the staff and volunteers did an incredible job and managed to evacuate all the animals, residing in the lower part, to safer, higher grounds. Some animals were accepted at smaller ZOOs in the country for a temporary time. No animal lives were lost, unlike during the tragic 2002. AWESOME JOB, guys!

This is their official poster for flood relief, that includes the "flood bank account" number. This is the international code for international donations: IBAN CZ3301000000000003070207
You can check and confirm the accuracy of the numbers and the information on the Prague ZOO official Facebook page.

For more pictures of the 2013 flood evacuations in Prague ZOO, view this album.

One of the biggest dramas of the 2013 Czech floods seems to be happening in the horse world.
Many, not only racing stables are located in river valleys, including the famous Praha - Velka Chuchle race course and stables. As of today, it is entirely under water.

Many horses from the race stables have been evacuated to other race stables on higher and drier grounds, but many private horses, small stables and riding schools were left to finding means of help elsewhere.

These folks show the love for their, from heavy rains totally soakan wet horses and offer them shelter and dry ground on the porch of their home.
These photographs are some of the many touching images.

But an amazing "project" was born. On Sunday, a new page appeared on Facebook. It is titled "2013 Flood Relief For Horses". Today is Tuesday and the page has already close to 5000 likes and growing rapidly.

People offer accommodation, pastures, corrals, hey, straw, transport. It is an incredible network of folks sharing and passing on information, giving phone numbers, organizing "pick up" places where people can leave towels, blankets, dry bread, hey, straw and other things the effected horses and stables may need. 

This time of the year is a foaling time and many newborn foals are effected by the floods as well, soaken wet, they need to be dried out and given warm and dry shelters. 
Most stables and horse owners lost their hey stocks as well, while others struggle to get their horses transported to safer grounds, as many roads are closed or washed out.

Among the many daily messages on this Horse Relief page, I found an inspiring story:

One high school´s board decided to stop classes during this time and instead, with the volunteering students, they go out and help taking care of effected horses. Isn´t that amazing? What a teaching for all those kids! Way to go!

Please check this great page out, and give them your thumbs up, or maybe some of you could actually help:

Famous Czech dog behaviorist Rudolf Desensky offered in a humble message to provide two thirds of his sheep and goat pastures, some hey and full housing for horse care takers, too. 

Organization specializing in foster care for dogs that wait for their new, forever homes, offers it´s services to dogs that need a roof, food and a warm, loving hand while their evacuated owners struggle.

You can check them out at: https://www.facebook.com/Docaskycz

In times like these, there are so many folks out there, volunteering and offering a helping hand, and most of them will never be mentioned by name. Let´s think for a moment and send gratitude and love out to them. They are all heroes, and they are all deeply appreciated. But most of all, they all show us that the human kind deserves to wear the prefix "human" after all. That there is a lot of good around the world.

Thank you to everyone helping out and one big WAY TO GO to you all!

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