Charlene is one more person selflessly saving one more life. She is the quintessential volunteer at any shelter, rescue, or sanctuary that needs her. Many animals have forever homes because of efforts like Charlene’s and countless others.
Indulge me one story here. The day we met was about 2 months after Katrina struck Charlene’s hometown of New Orleans where abandoned animals were still being rescued. This day it was a fish. The 18” fish had been in a house for 8-10 weeks with no fresh water, food or electricity to work the pump which essentially acted as this fish’s Iron Lung. The fish was in dire shape. His companions were dead and he was almost there. We added fresh tap water, then worried about the quality of the water, then added bottled water, then thought maybe he was a salt water fish. With our help, he was fading faster than when he was surviving on his own.
Charlene called the zoo and a vet answered, telling her to bring the fish right over, the gates would be opened for her. She put the makeshift tank in the backseat of her snazzy red convertible Mustang and drove through the familiar streets like it was the emergency it was. The vets said she saved the life of the fish. Not by her immediate response but in driving so fast, she sloshed the water and the fish around so much that she re-energized both. The fish lived. Charlene learned fish CPR and taught it to the rest of us. Yes, I’m serious. You take the fish gently around the body, glide it forward through the water, then pull gently backwards which forces the gills open. Repeat until the fish wants to wiggle away and resume ‘breathing’ on its own. Thank you to all the Charlenes of the World… for everything you do.