Some Heroes Wear PAWS Logos
Late February / early March of 2018 saw the greatest snowfall Ireland has seen in 36 years. With the whole country on amber and orange alerts in the days leading up to what the tabloids deemed ‘Ireland’s snow-mageddon.’ There was a dash at supermarkets and shops nationwide for bread, milk and supplies. All service workers and emergency responders braced themselves including the volunteers and workers of the animal welfare sector who were preparing themselves for caring for animals in severe winter conditions. On Wednesday the 28th of February, while everybody prepared themselves for the upcoming snowstorm which was due to hit that day, the team at PAWS; Amy, Sarah, Judith and Stephen battled snow, icy winds and frozen water while trying to carry out kennel duties. Thursday the 1st of March saw some of the kennel team unable to travel to work but the PAWS crew raged on to ensure the safety of the rescue dogs. Later that day, when Ireland was to see deadly snowfall, siberian winds and ‘Storm Emma’ battle it out almost every workplace, educational institution and business closed up early while the public abided to a 4pm curfew and Met Eireann’s status red. While most people watched the weather collide, hot drink in hand from the comfort of their living rooms, elsewhere, the PAWS team were warming their frozen fingers and toes having had worked tirelessly to batten down the hatches to see every dog and donkey safe, warm and cosy. Thanks to a tireless and strong team, while ‘The Beast from the East’ and ‘Storm Emma’ raged outside, the PAWS’ dogs were safe inside with soft beds and full bellies under the warm glow of the kennel’s heat lamps.
By Friday the 2nd of March, most of of Ireland woke up to snow drifts up to 10ft tall outside their homes and making roads impassable. While the country was brought to a standstill, many of the PAWS team saw themselves unable to get to work leaving a much-depleted skeleton crew of Sarah and Chrissy to persevere. While they began the day with just the two of them, in through the gate came reinforcements, having woken up to find his road impassable, Graham had walked the 4km from his house to PAWS to make sure he got there and ensure the dogs are cared for. A team of 2 became 3. At the end of the day, to make sure that he didn’t have to walk home again, a very cold and tired Graham was very kindly offered a lift on the company tractor by Lynch Fencing Services, Mullinahone. On Saturday the 3 rd of March, with many roads still unsurmountable, two team members Graham and Dick walked the 4 km again to look after all the dogs, along with Sarah & Grace. Not all heroes wear capes, folks, some wear paw-prints and PAWS logos.
There may be snowdrifts of up to 7ft outside, but a story like this is sure to warm you up. In a time where it can be hard to see the good news stories through the bad and particularly, in the animal welfare sector in Ireland, it can leave you feeling a bit hopeless. However, when you see the amazing work carried out by the health workers, emergency responders and the animal welfare workers, who often go unmentioned under the ‘essential services’ banner, carry out their duties tirelessly and relentlessly in very tough conditions through sheer determination and tenacity, this is something that can only work to inspire confidence and hopefulness.