Posts Categorized: Disaster

Helping Animal Victims of the Colorado Wildfire

Displaced Cat in Kennel

This Humane Society of Pikes Peak Region photo shows one of the many displaced pets in the organization’s care.

We’ve rushed $3,000 in disaster aid to Colorado Springs, Colo., where the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region is caring for 358 cats, dogs, birds, pocket pets and other animals displaced by the raging Black Forest fire.

“We’re working around the clock,” Grants and Corporate Relations Manager Marsha Wayman tells us.

The fire is the most destructive in the state’s history, with officials saying 360 homes have already been destroyed. Thousands of residents are being evacuated, and many of them are bringing their pets to the shelter for temporary housing and care.

“We’re working right now with animal recovery, trying to locate animals that have been left behind,” Wayman tells us.

Two Displaced Dogs in a Cage

Two of the many dogs whose owners were evacuated and who are being cared for by the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region.

The fire comes less than a year after the state’s second-most destructive fire, the Waldo Canyon fire, struck the region.

Temporary Shelter for People and Pets

A temporary shelter for people and pets being managed by the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region.

“The good news is we have an incredibly experienced and talented team,” Wayman says. “That’s kind of a silver lining, but the impact is going to be larger this time.”

As the manager of the area’s Community Animal Response Team, the organization is tasked with providing professional response, resources and community education during and after disasters, Wayman says. They are housing displaced animals at several locations, including one site where pet parents can stay with their pets. They working to transport large animals – such as horses and goats – to other organizations that are better equipped  to care for them, Wayman said.

Chinchilla in Cage

The Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region is caring for small displaced companion animals like this one, too.

The organization expects to spend a significant amount of money on transporting and housing pets while their caretakers are indefinitely displaced. Wayman says she is grateful for the Foundation’s fast assistance.

“We appreciate it so much,” Wayman said. “We need all the help we can get.”

Help us save more pets when disaster strikes.

Oklahoma Shelters Preparing for Surge of Lost Cats

Kitten rescued from rubble

Oklahoma City animal control officers rescued this kitten from the rubble around Moore.

After the May 20 tornado devastated Moore, Okla., the Petfinder Foundation rushed $15,000 to help Central Oklahoma Humane Society and City of Oklahoma City Animal Services Division cope with the influx of lost and injured pets. Intake numbers are finally slowing down – but with cat-search efforts underway, that the number is expected shoot up again.

“We are beginning our cat-trapping efforts on-site before they do the demolition, so we expect to bring in about 30 to 40 cats in the next few days,” Christy Counts, founder and president of Central Oklahoma Humane Society, tells us.

In addition to the cash grants, we worked with ThunderShirt to get the comforting shirts to displaced dogs, and with Wahl to deliver shampoo, clippers and other much-needed grooming supplies to the shelters. We helped Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc. rush vaccines to the facilities as well.

As of yesterday, the shelters had taken in close to 130 displaced pets and reunited at least 60 with their families.

“We are still in the recovery phase, so things haven’t completely slowed down quite yet,” Central Oklahoma Humane Society Director of Outreach Amy Shrodes tells us. “But we are definitely a lot more caught up than we were this time last week.”

Happy Reunion between Dog and Girl

This girl was reunited with her dog at Central Oklahoma Humane Society.

Donate to assist with the recovery efforts in Oklahoma.

 

Rushing Aid to Oklahoma’s First Responders

Susie the hero dog

First responders found Susie standing guard over a deceased man after the tornado hit Moore, Okla.

We knew Oklahoma shelters would be inundated slammed with lost, injured and frightened animals when the tornado struck. We knew that staff were working without power, water or Internet, so we called them and helped them apply for desperately needed cash grants over the phone.

“I really appreciate how easy it was, and how you reached out to us,” City of Oklahoma City Animal Services Division Superintendent Catherine English told us.

The Petfinder Foundation awarded $10,000 in assistance to the Animal Services Division, the government agency tasked with being the lead local responder to the crisis.  We awarded another $5,000 to the division’s neighbor and partner in responding to the disaster, the Central Oklahoma Humane Society. We have also worked with our partners at Thundershirt and Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health to rush Thundershirts and vaccines to the scene.

Working together, the two Oklahoma City organizations are caring for more than 150 displaced pets, and they have reunited more than 33 lost animals with their families, English said.

Amy Shrodes, director of outreach for the Central Oklahoma Humane Society, was particularly moved by the story of Susie, a 12-year old Schipperke-Border Collie mix. First responders found Susie standing guard over a deceased man inside a house in Moore, which was particularly devastated by the storms.

They assumed the dog was guarding her owner, and took her to an emergency shelter. They were surprised when Susie’s true owner came forward to claim her. The pair lived a half mile from where Susie was found watching over the dead man.

“It was just like a dog’s sense of protection to be by the person,” Shrodes told us.

Most of the displaced animals the organizations have taken in since the tornado struck have been dogs, English said. But as demolition efforts start, she expects more cats will come out of hiding: “Cats will be flying out of everything.”

Displaced Kitten

This displaced kitten is waiting to be reclaimed at Central Oklahoma Humane Society. If his or her family can’t be located, the kitten will be put up for adoption.

The two organizations will pool their resources to house, feed, medicate, treat and comfort all the displaced pets. Our grants will help cover staffing costs, which are skyrocketing because the agencies have been working around the clock.

English’s staff was able finally able to go home and get some sleep last night. “It’s only been two days,” she said. “It seems like nine months.”

English said the grant money and supplies the Petfinder Foundation provided will go a long way. “I’ve never experienced that kind of outreach, that kind of service level,” she added. “It’s kind of unheard of.”

 

Searching Through the Rubble for Oklahoma Pets

The Petfinder Foundation has given a $10,000 grant to City of Oklahoma City Animal Welfare Division, which has been working with Central Oklahoma Humane Society (which received a $5,000 grant from us) to house the hundreds of pets displaced by Monday’s deadly tornado. The funds will buy crates, vaccinations, grooming supplies, enrichment items and beds, and pay for medical treatments and staffing costs.

When we spoke with shelter superintendent Catherine English today, she was operating on just three hours of sleep. As the agency tasked with being the lead local responder to the crisis, the division had called all its staff members to work around the clock.

“We have worked two days now at 24 hours [a day],” English told us.

When the storms hit, the shelter staffers worked with regional and out-of-state rescue groups to take in their adoptable pets so that they would have more room for the newcomers. As of this morning, the agency had already taken in 92 dogs, 13 cats and three horses.  “We have a couple of officers down there going through rubble and patrolling the streets looking for strays,” English said.

All incoming animals are checked by a veterinarian and treated for injuries such as lacerations, shock and broken bones. Volunteer groomers were coming in that afternoon to wash the pets, which could reveal more injuries, English said: “We won’t know until we bathe them, whether or not the water runs red, whether they have fiberglass blown into them.”

Under normal circumstances, shelter staff try to achieve a 75 percent live-release rate, English said. They get close to their goal – recently they’ve hovered around a 63 percent live-release rate – because they provide medical interventions that save lives. They have a special Angel Fund set up to pay for expensive surgeries and procedures such as ultrasounds and X-rays, but English expects this crisis will quickly deplete that fund.

Notified of the Petfinder Foundation grant, English said, “That’s amazing! Thank you — I’m thrilled.” The funds, she said, would help ensure that only the most grievously injured pets are euthanized. “We are not going to lower the bar,” she said. “It’s our standard and we’re not going to lower our standard.” –Karen Hollish

 

Housing 130+ Displaced Dogs in Oklahoma

OK_humane1

Central Oklahoma Humane Society writes on its Facebook page: “This boy came into our facility with a fractured rear leg. He is currently receiving necessary medical care.”

The Petfinder Foundation has rushed a $5,000 disaster grant to Central Oklahoma Humane Society, which is finding and housing pets displaced by Monday’s deadly tornado in Oklahoma. The grant money will be used to pay for the pets’ medical care, sheltering and food, and it will help with the staffing costs associated with the shelter’s around-the-clock response.

Under normal circumstances, the shelter takes in 250 to 300 animals a month. As soon as the tornado struck, it emptied all its kennels of adoptable pets — either by transferring them to partner rescues or placing them in foster homes — to provide room for the more than 200 displaced pets expected to come in.

Already the shelter has have taken in more than 130 dogs, and the shelter’s staff have been working around the clock. It has taken in only a few displaced cats – but Director of Outreach Amy Shrodes tells us she expects that number will quickly rise.

OK_humane_corgi2

This Sheltie was found stuck in a tree’s branches after the storm.

“It’s still a very chaotic environment in Moore,” she says. “We are thinking most of the cats are still hiding.”

When we caught up with Shrodes on Tuesday, she was finally back in her office after spending the morning searching through the rubble in Moore. During the morning’s search, she and her staff found three dogs, among them a Sheltie who was stuck in a tree’s branches. “He was actually in better shape than some of the dogs we found who weren’t in trees,” she says.

Many of the displaced pets were injured in the storm. “We are looking at an at least 50 percent injury rate for the animals that are coming in,” Shrodes says.

Injured pets are being treated at the in-shelter clinic and at local veterinarians’ offices. The animals have been damaged by debris and are dealing with abrasions, eye injuries, lacerations and fractured legs.

The shelter currently is in need of syringes, needles, sterile gloves, gowns, shoe covers, pet shampoo, clipper blades and chemical antiseptic, Shrodes says.

“We are working around the clock to take in as many displaced animals as possible,” Shrodes says. “This money will go a long way.”

 

Helping Tornado Victims in Oklahoma

With 51 people dead and countless displaced after a massive tornado in Oklahoma, the human cost of the storm is incalculable. But we’re working to help local animal shelters mitigate the suffering of residents’ pets.

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Roux is at City of Moore Animal Shelter.

The local animal control, City of Moore Animal Shelter, has lost power; its four staff members have been working with almost no sleep to pick up the hundreds of lost pets roaming the city.

They have set up three temporary holding areas, at locations such as the county fairgrounds, where displaced dogs are being held so their owners can locate them. The shelter has not taken in any displaced cats yet, but expects to as the days go on.

Shelter Manager Vanna Conway tells us, “We lost half of our city, and it’s pouring down rain today so it’s not helping matters.” Conway herself went home at 4:30 a.m. last night and was back at work at 7 a.m. today.

On a regular day, the shelter may take in 20 dogs and 10 cats. During the last disaster, a twister that killed at least two in 1999, it took in more than 250 displaced dogs and 200 displaced cats. Shelter staff reconnected all those pets with their families or found new homes for them, and that is what they want to do again.

But this tornado has been even deadlier. “We have a lot more deaths this time, people and animals,” Conway says. Still, most of the animals she and her staff have picked up have been alive. “They’re covered in mud and insulation,” she says, “but they’re breathing.”

Many of them, however, are injured. “We have several vets that are volunteers and they are taking care of those,” Conway says. Uninjured pets are awaiting their owners at one of the three holding areas.

Donate now to help us help Oklahoma shelters save the lives of displaced pets.

 

How You Can Help Shelter Pets by Quilting

Denny snuggles on his favorite quilt.

Last year, we worked with pet-loving crafters to get handmade quilts to cats stranded by Hurricane Sandy. Here, Nan Baker, marketing director at The Quilt Pattern Magazine, tells us how this creative and compassionate project developed, and how you can help:

“It all started with Denny. He loved quilts. Although the colors or designs didn’t matter to him, he definitely had his favorites. Put a quilt on a chair, a floor or a shelf and he magically appeared to stake his claim, especially for naps.

“After seeing many pictures of cats on quilts on the Internet, I knew that I was not alone in thinking that cats on quilts make great photos and that they just need to be shared.

“In the fall of 2011, The Quilt Pattern Magazine (TQPM) started our annual Quilt Kitties Photo Contest. Subscribers were urged to send in pictures of their kitties on quilts and given the chance to win some great prizes donated by very generous kitty-loving sponsors! We even had a sponsor kitty – Miss Piggy of Kona Bay Fabrics.

Miss Piggy & Gracie

Sponsor cat Miss Piggy, left, and 2011 Quilt Kitties Photo Contest winner Gracie

“However, because TQPM’s staff are all cat lovers and many have rescue cats, they took it a step further! They wanted to help cats, particularly the less-fortunate kitties who don’t have homes or who end up in shelters. They gave their readers an opportunity to donate to an organization that specializes in helping kitties.

“In the fall of 2012, the same wonderful sponsors, along with some new ones, rejoined TQPM for its second annual Quilt Kitties Photo Contest. TQPM was pleased to announce that the Petfinder Foundation had joined them in promoting this endeavor. Who could have guessed where it would lead?

Quilt Kitties Photo Contest 2012 winner Baby

Quilt Kitties Photo Contest 2012 winner Baby

“Wanting to give their readers a little something extra for their kitties, TQPM was the first to offer free, downloadable patterns for Kennel Quilts. (Find Kennel Quilt patterns here!) These quilts are 12″ x 18″ and are perfect for most cat carriers and cages. The plan was for readers to make one for their own furry friend and another for a local shelter kitty.

Kennel Quilt

Kennel Quilts fit perfectly in cat carriers.

“Then, Hurricane Sandy hit the Northeast and Kennel Quilts took on a whole new meaning. Several of the staff members, knowing firsthand how devastating hurricanes can be for people and their pets, contacted the Petfinder Foundation to offer help.

“Petfinder gave TQPM a list of affected shelters in New York and New Jersey. One shelter, St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center in Madison, NJ, delivered the quilts on a supply truck along with water, pet food and other essentials to people on the Jersey shore. They knew these people had lost everything and that a bright, new quilt for their pets would bring a little bit of joy. Another shelter reported that these donated quilts made everything look very bright and pretty. The volunteers and visitors were all talking about them.

“Because they fit the kitty Kuranda beds, which many shelters use, one shelter asked how we had known to make them the perfect size. As more quilts were delivered, the compliments continued to come in. Shelters were amazed by how many people cared. Strangers, yes; but ones who extended helping hands in times of need. The response was overwhelming, with more than 100 quilts made and sent from the United States, Canada and England. The shelters continue to receive quilts to this day.

Shelter Kitty

A cat at St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center snoozes on his donated quilt.

“As a result of the overwhelming response, TQPM and the Petfinder Foundation decided to make this an ongoing project. Thus, the Small Kennel Quilt Team was formed.

“The TQPM Small Kennel Quilt Team is a volunteer organization that is available to respond when disasters strike. It is a way to join a larger effort in helping our animal friends in times of need by doing what we love. Sign up for the Small Kennel Quilt Team here.

“The team will supply Kennel Quilts to shelters. Free patterns can be downloaded from the TQPM site (download a free quilt pattern here) or you can design your own. TQPM will post members’ progress on the program web page and email updates to them. Members are not obligated to make quilts; they can sign up simply to receive program updates.

Zoey on a quilt.

Zoey the shelter cat has her choice of quilts.

“If you don’t quilt, but want to be a member of the team, you are most welcome. There are other very important ways to help; one is to give a donation to the Petfinder Foundation, which will be greatly appreciated and well-used.

“This new venture is still in the formative stage. As time passes, TQPM and the Petfinder Foundation are sure to find new ways to help shelters and their animals. Join our ‘Passion with a Purr-pose’!”

Many thanks to Nan and all the quilters around the world who are working so hard to offer some comfort and cheer to shelter cats and their caregivers during times of need.

Download Kennel Quilt patterns.

Sign up for the Small Kennel Quilt Team.

 

 

For One Rescue Group, the Petfinder Foundation Is ‘The Angel in the Wake of a Storm’

Alvin is one of the adoptable pets at H.E.A.L.S. in Lodi, NJ.

When Hurricane Sandy hit the east coast on Oct. 29, 2012, many animal shelters lost power and supplies. One of them was Helping Every Animal Live Society Inc. (H.E.A.L.S.) in Lodi, NJ, which received a $2,500 disaster grant from the Petfinder Foundation. H.E.A.L.S. cofounder Benjamin Ortiz wrote to tell us about the impact the grant had for his organization.

“Days prior to Hurricane Sandy, H.E.A.L.S. had rescued 12 puppies and four adult dogs from a southern shelter that was scheduled to euthanize them on the same day that Sandy was set to make landfall in New Jersey. H.E.A.L.S. knew that this was unfair to these sweet babies and made the decision to save them from a sure death and bring them home.

“We knew the battle to keep the dogs alive was just starting when we saw how intense the storm had become and the condition of the puppies when they arrived at H.E.A.L.S. They had upper respiratory infections along with canine influenza and were immediately treated and prescribed antibiotics and cough medicine. It seemed they had gotten sick during their transportation from the south and the stress of transport made their illness worse — these babies needed a lot of T.L.C.

Flooding outside the H.E.A.L.S. shelter in Lodi, NJ.

“The antibiotics that were prescribed needed refrigeration, as did many of the vaccines we had in stock, so we made sure we had a generator prepared in case we lost power. H.E.A.L.S. prepared as much as possible for the worst, but Hurricane Sandy planned to outsmart us.

“When the storm hit, we lost power within the first hour and flooding began soon after. The generator was knocked off the platform and swept into the nearby river. We immediately filled our coolers with bags of ice that we had bought in case all else failed and put all the medications in the coolers.

“When the storm had passed, the ice in the cooler had melted and the puppies’ condition has shown very little improvement. The medication was no longer refrigerated and no vets or animal hospitals were open due to their own damages and power failures. Sadly, many of the puppies’ got worse. Days passed and still no power; gasoline became a privilege. We struggled to find fuel to transport these animals to Pennsylvania to receive proper medical attention, but it was impossible.

“Finally, after a week, some power was restored and we received notice that a nearby vet was now open for a few hours. We immediately ran there with the puppies. After a full check-up, the vet advised us to hospitalize the puppies because their condition was critical and it was going to take a lot of medical treatment to get them healthy again. The bill for the treatment and the hospital stay, after a discount, would come out to $2,446. We could not afford this enormous bill. But we told the vet that we would have the money and to please treat our babies (we knew that their lives were more important than a bad credit report and there was no way that we were going to let them die).

“I cannot tell you how much stress I was under at that moment. I had no idea how we would raise $2,500 in two days. That night, I went home, opened up my e-mail and saw a message from the Petfinder Foundation. This angel by the name of Toni Morgan had sent us a grant application. I immediately filled it out and prayed that we could get something to cover at least half the vet bill.

“God knew what He was doing, as always, and this angel was at work for him. Within a few days we received an e-mail stating that we were approved for the grant and that the check was in the mail. THIS WAS THE MOST UPLIFTING MOMENT EVER! I immediately printed this e-mail, showed it to the vet and was granted some time to pay the bill. The most incredible thing was that when the checked arrived, it was for $2,500 — just the right amount! The Petfinder Foundation was and still is our ANGEL! THANK YOU for everything! You GUYS ARE AMAZING!”

We are so happy we could help H.E.A.L.S. and its dogs survive the storm and their illness. Thank you to everyone who donated to our Hurricane Sandy relief efforts to make lifesaving grants like this one possible!

 

Hurricane Sandy Pets Get Handmade Quilts to Keep them Warm

A-Rod, a favorite cat at St. Hubert’s, rests on his kennel quilt. He loves to knead the quilt before taking his naps.

In the weeks following Hurricane Sandy, the Petfinder Foundation was contacted by Nan Baker of The Quilt Pattern Magazine with one question: “How can we help?” With an audience who loves quilting, and many shelters in need of blankets to keep their pets warm, there was a clear answer. The Petfinder Foundation provided the names of groups in need of blankets for their pets. With that information, the online magazine asked its subscribers to put their passion to good use by creating small “kennel quilts” for the pets affected by the disaster. (You can see the pattern and the list of shelters who need quilts here.)

How did their audience respond? With more than 60 quilts made and mailed, and more on the way.

St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center in New Jersey said the quilts they received have been a big help to their shelter and the shelters they are assisting.

Grey Joy, a kitten at Pets Alive in New York, tests out his new kennel quilt.

Vice President Nora Parker says, “The quilts are the PERFECT size for the kitty Kuranda beds that we (and many others) use at the shelter, so they work for both the cubbies and around the cattery when the cats are out lounging around.

“We’ve been happy we could send some off to the supply spot at the Jersey Shore. We will send more when we have them as we are keeping that spot stocked for those folks into the new year. The quilts keep coming in! I thought you’d like to know that we’ve just received a package with seven quilts and a sweet note from a lady in ENGLAND!”

The generous readers of The Quilt Pattern Magazine aren’t slowing down, and they expect this to be an ongoing effort. Nan Baker tells us, “We know there will be more occasions where quilts are needed, and we want to be ready to respond when there is a need! The shelters that have received the quilts have been so appreciative. This is one way we can let them know we are so grateful for the work they are doing in taking care of animals in need.”

The Quilt Pattern Magazine has free downloadable patterns on their website for anyone who wishes to contribute to this effort. Get the pattern here. To learn more about the effort, read The Quilt Pattern Magazine’s blog or visit the magazine’s Kennel Quilt page to download the pattern and see a list of shelters in need.

 

Sandy Refugee Storm the Dog Gets a Second Chance

Meet adoptable Dobie/Am Staff mix Storm at Westchester Humane Society in Harrison, NY.

Westchester Humane Society got a disaster grant from the Petfinder Foundation to care for the animals it took in because of Hurricane Sandy. Board member Irma Jansen wrote to us about one of those refugees, a Doberman/American Staffordshire Terrier mix named Storm (pictured above).

Storm with a pal

This is Storm, one of the 18 animals the Westchester Humane Society in Harrison rescued from New York City. Storm came from Staten Island the day before the hurricane hit.

They were evacuating shelters and were overcrowded. In order to help prevent a lot of animals from being euthanized, we rescued a total of 18 dogs and cats.

Storm, named in ‘honor’ of the hurricane, was saved from Sandy and did not seem to care that a week after the hurricane, a snow storm hit our area! It has been quite a week in the NYC area.

She loves the snow, this 2-year-old girl! She is an absolute sweetheart and we are happy we were able to have saved her. Thank you so much for making this rescue possible!

Some of the other shelters and rescue groups receiving disaster grants in Sandy’s wake include:

These puppies, at Tails of Love Animal Rescue in Staten Island, will benefit from a Petfinder Foundation disaster grant.

  • Tails of Love Animal Rescue, Inc., in Staten Island, NY, which lost heat and power and suffered damage to its roof and outdoor kennels, and also needed money for food, blankets, a generator, food bowls (since staff could not wash them without hot water) and cleaning supplies.
  • Seer Farms, Inc., in Jackson, NJ. “We took in over 50 animals in the first weekend after the storm, which is an approximately 10% increase in our population, and we are taking in new animals every day who were either rescued from abandoned homes or brought by their owners who are living in shelters,” says owner Laura Pople. “We lost power for several days and spent several thousand dollars on tree removal.”
  • Abandoned Angels Animal Rescue in Columbus, NJ, which took in pets for people whose homes had flooded and will care for them until their families can find housing for themselves and their pets, or find them new homes if their guardians can’t take them back.
  • Helping Every Animal Live Society, Inc. in Lodi, NJ, which needed to relocate to a safer building. “We lost all or vaccinations and antibiotics that needed refrigeration. The river swept away many of our crates and destroyed pallets of dog food,” says vice president Benjamin Ortiz. “This grant will be used solely to relocate our rescues to a safe and healthy facility.”
  • Animal Rescue R Us, also in Lodi. “We lost crates, bedding, food and supplies due to damage from flood,” says president Christina Chavis. The grant will allow the shelter to replace those items to care for its 20 adoptable pets.

We are able to help these organizations continue their lifesaving work thanks to donors like you. Thank you to all who gave — every little bit helps.