Texas National Guard members worked alongside other responders to rescue local citizens in flooded areas. Soldiers, firefighters, paramedics and neighbors ensured several thousand people and hundreds of dogs and cats were evacuated to safety.
It’s difficult to comprehend the scope of the Hurricane Harvey disaster. In the coming weeks and months the economic and social impact will be calculated, but for now, it is the personal tragedies that tug at our hearts. The death toll is expected to rise when the rain stops and the flood waters eventually recede. And thousands (or millions) may be left homeless. Agencies such as FEMA and the American Red Cross are joined by many other groups who are mobilizing to help in whatever way they can.
Among those are at least two national organizations working to provide assistance and rescue for animals. The Humane Society of the United States mobilized its Disaster Animal Response Team (or DART) in the area of Corpus Christi, Texas. American Humane Association Rescue team responded to an official request from the City of Orange Grove, near Corpus Christi, with two of its giant 50-foot emergency rescue vehicles. They took with them more than 100,000 pounds of free emergency pet food for displaced owners and frightened hungry animals separated from their families.
In advance of the storm, several Texas animal shelters evacuated their homeless residents out of the flood zone to shelters in places like New Jersey and Atlanta, Georgia, both to protect them and to make space to receive lost pets.
And wish lists posted online by agencies such as the City of San Antonio Animal Care Services and the SPCA of Texas include urgently needed supplies like food, crates and bedding. Links to their websites can be found on the Alabama Public Radio website at APR.org – Click on the Speaking of Pets logo.
Every time I see a picture of a storm survivor holding an animal while wading through deep water or being hoisted in the rescue basket of a helicopter, I know they left almost everything behind except the one thing that was most precious to them – their best friend – when we’re speaking of pets.