Today, Stella has been breathing without the help of a ventilator. Yesterday, Bruin, the cat who got away during the fire, was found and taken to the vet. Friday, Bikers Against Animal Cruelty arrived like the cavalry with donations they had collected during the week.
For Sweetpea Friends of Rutland Animals in Paxton, MA, it’s truly one day at a time. One week has passed since the fire that still has everyone reeling, and it has been an emotional rollercoaster ride every single day. The weight of the loss of 13 dogs and 33 cats (official count), the care of and concern for the six surviving animals (four dogs and two cats) combined with the outpouring of support from people around the world has been a lot to absorb.
The shelter’s online account has been showered with donations. Fundraisers and events are springing up everywhere, from the heart and put together by people who just want to find a way to help. There is a contest, The Shelter Challenge, with a $20,000.00 cash prize, that through daily votes (until December 20) has propelled Sweetpea into a promising position, but needs everyone to keep sharing and voting if they are to win. And Sweetpea’s own event, Pictures with Santa, planned before the tragedy, is still on for December 6, but now to be held at a nearby venue instead.
Some of the noteworthy individual fundraisers include Juno’s Place’s t-shirt sale, which started before the fire and has now been extended through the month of December, a doggie bandana sale run by a company in Canada, a Sweetpea Strong t-shirt, and a benefit gathering, open to the public, to be held in Worcester on December 20.
While there is still a very long road ahead, Sweetpea’s volunteers remain committed to the shelter, to the animals and to each other. They have vowed to stay strong and do whatever it takes to rebuild and continue their shared mission of helping homeless animals.