MISSION TO SAVE 2 GREAT DANE'S WITH DR. LU FENNY

The floods in the northern rivers have caused our community deep heartache, but it is the community spirit that has been ignited from far and near that really lifted us. 

From the civilian-funded emergency response that grew from a few locals in tinny's to a military-like operation involving hundreds of boat crews and 17 helicopter crews.

Every day people risked their lives to provide emergency medicines, survival essentials, hay drops, and vet care. 

On March 7, I received an SOS message from 2 women from Bungawalbin, that there were 2 Great Danes stranded on a property. Their owners had been evacuated but the size of the dogs didn't allow their precious pets to be transported with them. 

We were tasked through an online phone tree that we just needed to do a food drop, instinct kicked in I thought if that was Fernie I'd want her with me. So, I managed to get in touch with the owners (this took half a day of contant phone calls to find them - and reception was really poor).

I connected Dr. Lu Fenny who was volunteering in the area, she got straight to Tyagrah airfield within half an hour where she stood on standby while we arranged the emergency evacuation. 

First, the helicopter we arranged couldn't take the combined weight of the dogs, then we found out the dogs were becoming aggressive. It wasn't looking good, we still hadn't been able to contact the owners so a food drop, and vet check is all it looked like we could manage.

We persisted. I finally got in touch with Sharon (the owner), who was inconsolable on the phone, she was so worried about Dr. Lu's safety as the dogs become aggressive when their scared and they aren't with them. Through her tears and pain of missing her dogs, knowing the stress they were under she didn't want to put anyone at risk. 

I asked if I could speak to her husband, I said to Colin what if we could get you on the helicopter with Dr. Lu would it be safe for her to sedate them to evacuate, if you are there too. He was over the moon at the idea, I could feel the hugs and sheer relief jump through the phone at me. They'll be absolutely fine if I'm their too. 

But, I still didn't have a helicopter big enough to transport the comboned weight of the 2 Great Danes named Eight Ball and Saffy. I didn't mention that to Colin or Sharon on the phone. I asked them to get to Ballina airport and standby for my call when I had the helicopter ETA. 

I was pretty confident with the 17 choppers we had in the air we would find one big enough, a message in a group chat and 2 minutes later I had Seaworld Helicopters on the phone, they could take up to 600kg of weight.

Within half an hour we had Dr. Lu onboard from Tyagrah near Byron Bay, and Colin onboard from Ballina heading south west to Bungawalbin on the mission to save his 2 Great Danes. 

My call to Colin and Sharon to let them know a helicopter is enroute to pick up Colin for this rescue mission, was one of the highlights of a very tough 2 weeks.

The tears of pain, quickly turned to tears of joy, as I told them we were evacuating their precious Great Danes. As I spoke to Colin on the phone I could hear Sharon's voice of relief break as she heard the news. 

I still haven't met Sharon & Colin, they popped in while I was out onsite at the helicopter hanger helping with the animal emergency response. Di of course fixed them up with Frontier Pets food, kindly donated by our beautiful community. 

I'm sure we'll meet one day, but this story is one of thousands of stories that formed a part of the community led crisis response to the worst natural disaster I've ever experienced.

Together a human army of thousands mobilised boat and helicopter rescues, food drops and animal rescues. Complete strangers networked together to access the resources we needed to save people, our pets and live stock.

Many local businesses just like Frontier Pets, and Mid Richmond Plumbing in Evans Head along with many more paid their staff for a week or more to help with the rescue effort. 

If you'd like to contribute please add a donation to your cart, so we can keep feeding people's pets, while they get back on their feet. 

Thank-you to the everyone who has donated so far whether it be through our fundraiser, donation drops or other fundraising efforts.

Our community here on the ground feels your love and support, we are grateful for your thoughts and we will continue to work hard on the ground during the next phase of recovery.

We are resilient and we are inspired by people and many more stoires just like this one. 

Lyndall