Today was our last full day at the shelter were volunteering in, ARNO. We spent the morning doing our usual tasks and then in the afternoon, we got to spend a bit of time bonding with the animals. It's going to be hard tomorrow to leave the cats and dogs we have become attached too, but I'd imagine it will be even harder for the animals. It must be tough for them to see people they have grown to trust leave them behind after a only week. Still, in just a week so many animals have made marked improvements. A dog who was was feral as of Monday this week and wouldn't let us touch her actually approached us and let us pet her today. Another formerly feral dog managed to get adopted. It's so rewarding to see our work pay off and make animals more adoptable.
After our chores, th director of ARNO, Charlotte, paid a visit to the shelter". We actually hadn't met her yet, and we had a ton of questions for her. She explained to us that ARNO began back during hurricane Katrina when Charlotte was helping the LSPCA and they were setting up food and water stations to feed the trapped animals. Long story short, the LSPCA ran out of money and decided they were done but a few people realized there was no way all the animals in New Orleans were accounted for. So Charlotte stayed, along with a few friends and ARNO was born. They just kept expanding and expanding in the warehouse they had initially rented to house volunteers and supplies, and decided to be a no kill shelter. Some dogs at ARNO are actually dogs of the hurricane, like "mama," and her baby "fuzzy." Their humans left town and even when they were located this year - seven years later - their owners just didn't want them back. Sad stories like that aren't uncommon in the files of the dogs and cats found at ARNO. But knowing we can help them by giving them more than one walk a day, fresh water, clean cages and, perhaps most importantly, love, makes this week of scrubbing dirty walls and organizing cat food all worth it.