Friday, April 10, 2009

Fur in the Flood

© 2009 Karen Van Fossan

You probably know my number. If you watch WDAY in Fargo, you certainly do.

When Kris Kitko told the media:

Foster homes are needed for animals in the floods --

We had no idea our number would be famous. But it scrolled across the screen at a regular clip.

Here in Bismarck-Mandan, KFYR announced it all day long.

What I learned...

1) Over 50 people offered shelter and help in the Bismarck area.
2) More than 70 people offered shelter and help in the Fargo region.
3) Sometimes it seemed like those 120 people were calling all at once.
4) We got zip, zero, zilch, nada, not a single prank phone call.
5) If you happen to be a mouse, rabbit, rat, hamster, gerbil, ferret, guinea pig, bird, lizard, snake, iguana, llama, cow, horse, mule, dog, cat, fish, dragon, or special needs pet of any ilk -- and you get displaced by North Dakota floods, there just might be a spot for you.
6) There's a lot of interesting animal stories waiting to be told...

One caller offered to shelter "just about anything but a snake!"
Another said, "Snakes please!"

(By the way...did you know that garter snakes look like they're shedding their skin when they're giving birth? Then there's all this black stuff. And then -- the little darlings.)

One caller specified -- puppy if possible.
Another said an old, old, old dog would be great.

One could only take healthy pets.
Another could help with special needs pets.

Callers included a zookeeper, animal boarder, equestrians, vet techs, rescue volunteers, and more than 100 kindred spirits.

A few callers said, "We can also house people."

Since Kris started "Fur in the Flood," lots of people have asked me, "How many animals have you rescued?"

Part of me wants to regale you with stories of knee-high waters -- rabbits in my arms, birds on my shoulders, and herds of horses splashing close behind me.

The truth:

"Fur in the Flood" is a simple emergency measure. If dikes break, sandbags don't hold, Humane Societies run out of room, police departments can no longer help, and family and friends have no more space -- "Fur in the Flood" is there.

Though I check for news of floods each day -- I'm hoping I won't get to be a hero.