Hurricane Isaac just made himself felt in the Gulf region, another hit to an area that has already sustained so much weather-related tragedy. I want to tell you a story of an unfortunate and not atypical situation, that just happened with Isaac...
My husband's friend Jessie lives in New Orleans, and during Isaac she rescued two sweet little female pitties wandering the streets. It turns out that they had been left outside in a medium sized crate to ride out the storm, and broke out of the crate (either from complete panic or with some help from the brutal winds is unknown). When she found the home and suggested returning the dogs, she was told that they would be put back in the crate, so she decided to foster them and try to re-home them. After eating a hearty meal, they slept for 12 hours straight!
While that is heartbreaking in and of itself, what happened after the initial rescue was also frustrating. Jessie has her own dog, and these two new girls (named Thelma and Louise, as the crate woman didn't even know their names) weren't used to being indoors or being with a new dog; there was no way that Jessie could keep them in her place for very long. So she started to look into rescue situations. She sent emails, made phone calls, tried to contact people through twitter and facebook, and received almost no response. Zeus' Place, a grooming and boarding facility that does a lot of rescue work, did try to help her and offer her advice. They were unable to take the dogs because their building had structural damage that needed repair before they could open again - they had already crammed all of their rescues into various foster situations even more crowded than Jessie's apartment! But even with dealing with all of their issues, they took the time to talk to her.
When organizations such as the Humane Society and SPCA were overwhelmed and unable to respond, a small-time rescue did. CPH is trying to organize donations of pet food, blankets, and cat carriers to send down to Zeus' Place, to say thank you for what they are doing and to help them rebuild. In the aftermath of a hurricane, with power outages and building damage, it's not a surprise that Jessie had a hard time finding help!
The HSUS and SPCA weren't able to respond because they're underfunded, understaffed and undersupplied. Donation, financial or otherwise, to any rescue or organization is a great way to make a difference for the many homeless pets that are taken in. While disasters such as Hurricane Isaac make things more immediate, every town has animal rescue organizations that are struggling to feed their wards. We have one employee who, in lieu of other gifts for her young nieces, buys them gift cards to pet stores - they go in together, the girls pick out toys and treats, and then they deliver them to an animal shelter. It's such a simple concept, but such an amazing thing to do, and to teach the next generation. I encourage everyone to take a second to think about donating. Thank you, from me and all the shelter fuzzballs waiting for a home.