Second Chance: Helping Harvey Victims
Dear Pet Column,
I have been seeing images of all too many animals impacted by Hurricane Harvey. What can I do to help? I would be willing to drive to Houston and bring some animals to Second Chance.
Worried about Wet Animals
You are not the first person who has offered to physically help rescue animals in the Houston area. This response from concerned animal lovers like you is uplifting and appreciated. Please read below as I have summarized the main points Second Chance has been offering to those who want to help.
Hurricane Harvey has created an unprecedented catastrophe for people and animals in Texas. One silver lining, however, has been that serious lessons were learned from the last massive natural disaster to devastate the south. As a result, it is possible animals won’t be as overwhelmingly impacted as they were by Hurricane Katrina.
The reasons for this are that, since Katrina, emergency and evacuation planning has included pets, because so many were left behind and lost during that storm. Also, response efforts have been much more organized and focused on keeping displaced pets in the area and not transporting them across the country to whichever shelters was willing to receive them.
Instead, a nationally coordinated effort by the Humane Society of the United States, Wings of Rescue, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and Best Friends Animal Sanctuary took place to transport shelter animals (already deemed “homeless” prior to the storm, and waiting in shelters in southeast Texas to be adopted) to larger rescue facilities around the country (including Denver Dumb Friends League) in order for them to find new, dry homes.
This mass shuffling of thousands of shelter animals opened up space in Houston’s regional shelters for pets plucked from the floodwaters or otherwise displaced by Harvey, dramatically increasing the chances of their families being able to find them.
Despite these coordinated efforts, the animal rescue work in Harvey’s path is ongoing, still very vital and urgent. Disaster responders are still in an active rescue and recovery phase in certain counties and moving into the recovery phase in others. The water is receding, but the needs are tremendous: over 130,000 families have been displaced in Houston/Harris County alone.
The group of disaster response teams listed above are working directly with the Houston SPCA to provide support in the coming weeks to assist with sheltering, feeding and caring for lost and displaced animals. Sending down representatives from small rescue organizations like Second Chance, or even just concerned citizens who want to lend a hand, only serves to slow down the larger scale rescue coordination.
So, although very well intended, Second Chance is discouraging folks from heading to Houston to help and encouraging them to help in other direct and meaningful ways. Primarily that is through cash donations.
Giving directly to the Houston SPCA (via houstonspca.org) will certainly make an impact on rescue efforts. Or donating to one of the organizations listed above that is providing direct support on the ground in Houston would also make the biggest impact for vulnerable animals along the path of that now depleted storm.
In closing I want to add that having looked at footage of evacuations and rescue, I have been moved by seeing people wading through floodwaters more often than not carrying their pet, rather than their possessions. As a homeless dog myself, this gives me great hope for humanity (particularly if you use this storm as another wake- up call to the impacts of climate change…)
Further I hope that whoever is lucky enough to adopt me also knows that I too am worth more than the sum of anyone’s possessions.
PS – I am an energetic, beautiful two-year-old Yellow Lab named Tucker who loves playing fetch, thencooling off in the mini-pools here at Second Chance. I get along great with other dogs because I play very gently.
Looking for purry companionship? I would recommend Scruffy, a beautiful Russian Blue who is about 9-years- old. Scruffy loves human attention and belly rubs and gets along fine with other cats.
Editor’s note: It’s no secret. The Telluride region is dog heaven. Well, pet heaven. Unless you are one of our furry friends who gets caught in the maw of neglect and abuse. Then heaven is on hold until Second Chance Humane Society comes to the rescue. Second Chance is the region’s nonprofit dedicated to saving animals’ lives and promoting responsible pet parenting and human-animal bond. In her weekly blog, executive director Kelly Goodin profiles at least one, generally two of the many animals now living at the no-kill shelter, Angel Ridge Shelter, a dog and a cat, hoping to find them loving permanent homes. The column is sponsored by Ted Hoff of Cottonwood Ranch & Kennel, who from time to time exercises his skills as a dog whisperer, partnering with Kelly and her staff to help train a particularly challenging animal.
By the by, there is no better place to park your pup or get your pup (or adult dog) trained than Cottonwood whenever you head out of town (for locals) or are heading to town and staying somewhere that does not allow pets. Consider joining Ted’s Very Important Dog (VID) Club for added benies. (Details on Ted’s website.)
Second Chance Humane Society Animal Resource Center and Thrift Shop are both located in Ridgway, but service San Miguel, Ouray & Montrose Counties. Call the SCHS Helpline at 626-2273 to report a lost pet, learn about adopting a homeless pet, or about the SCHS Spay/Neuter, Volunteer, Feral Cat, or other Programs. View the shelter pets and services online: www.adoptmountainpets.org
Vetting the Vet: Dr. Michelle Dally, DVM, J.D. is Medical Director of Second Chance Humane Society. She also has a private practice, Dally Veterinary Medicine, 333 S. Elizabeth Street, Ridgway, Colorado. Her service area is San Miguel Mesas, Placerville, Ridgway, Ouray, and Montrose. For more on Dr. Dally, go here.