by Stephanie Thompson
The men and women of San Diego Humane Society know they’re helping animals in need whether they’re working from a desk, in the shop or behind the scenes. But sometimes they feel the urge to be more involved and pitch in when there’s an emergency and it’s all hands on deck. That’s why they came up with the Special Response Team in 2015.
“The SRT was created to provide staff opportunities to be active in the field,” says Jerrica Owen, who coordinates the SRT’s out-of-area response. “Helping with field operations is so different from the day-to-day work; it gives you a sense of urgency and purpose.”
Any employee can volunteer to be on the team, and after specialized training they are on standby for when disaster strikes. SRT members help pets who’ve been evacuated during natural disasters like floods and wildfires, and support Humane Law Enforcement officers in recovering animals from terrible conditions. Sometimes the response is national. Recently, SRT members drove to San Diego from the Bay Area with a group of dogs rescued from the Korean meat trade, to help them find new homes here.
Sarah Thompson, who handles local emergency response, says the SRT provides the opportunity to really live SDHS’s mission. “Sometimes you can feel like you’re not doing enough in the day-to-day. The SRT feels very important, and rewarding on a larger scale. It just gives you the chance to do a little more.”