Baltimore, MD. September 28th, 2018.
When Florence was first threatening the coast, Saint Frances Animal Center began evacuation preparations on September 8th. They evacuated 180 dogs and cats between September 10-12, with the storm predicted to hit on the 13th. As we all can assume, hurricane evacuations are not easy nor cheap! Their staff drove dogs and cats to New York, New Jersey, Georgia, Ohio, and Columbia, SC to other shelters who were able to take their animals from the flooding and adopt them out themselves. The staff also drove animals to foster homes and farms who were able to temporarily hold the animals until the hurricane was over. The group drove 7300 miles over the course of the first evacuation – and spent $7,000!
Just as the organization began to bring their animals back, Georgetown suddenly became the target of flood predictions. Their shelter was looking like they would be 5 ft deep in water. They prepared for evacuations again! This time, they evacuated 62 dogs and 65 cats. They relied heavily on the community on the second evacuation, and the vast majority of those animals (50 cats and 40 dogs) went into foster homes.
What inspires us (here at Puppie Love) the most about this organization is that through all of this disaster, loss of money, and hard work, Devon Smith executive director of Saint Francis Animal Center, wrote the following to us:
“We know how lucky we are. We were not only lucky to avoid the devastation that Florence could have wrought, and that North Carolina endured; but we were lucky to be able to come together as a remarkable team, with our remarkable community, and make sure every animal was safe during the hurricane and flood threats. Our sympathy, love, and prayers go out to all the families and animals affected by this storm; and our gratitude goes out to all the people who have reached out with so much generosity and compassion to help us during these scary times. That gratitude very much includes you, and this awesome project. Thank you”
We want all of our customers to see how far every single Puppie Love purchase goes. Because of all of the customers and the support that was generated from a simple t-shirt, we were able to help the people who put their lives on the line to save our best friends.
Below are a couple stories that Saint Frances Animal Center shared with us from their hurricane mission with photos!
Montgomery and Skippy: Megan took this photo, who is fostering dog Skippy for us for this second evacuation. This is her son, Montgomery, with Skippy <3
Justin and crates: Volunteer Justin Snyder unloading animals at the SPCA Serving Erie County in West Seneca, NY. Justin and I drove 42 animals to NY and NJ, and this shelter took 16 of our animals.
Justin and Dutch: Dutch was one of our longest-term residents – a dog who had been with us since December of 2017. The Edison Animal Shelter in Edison, NJ took Dutch for us!
Kittens dumped after Florence: the night that our road flooded, someone dumped two kittens in this drawer at our front door. THANKFULLY the water didn’t reach where these kittens were. They were evacuated into a foster home for the second evacuation.
Olivia and friend: Olivia was a puppy who has ringworm. We had 6 dogs and 5 cats in the first evacuation who had ringworm, and 13 dogs and 4 cats for the second evacuation with ringworm. These are some of the hardest animals to evacuate, as ringworm is contagious, and many people are reticent to take them on. This is a photo of the family that fostered all 6 ringworm dogs for the storm itself, with our sweet Olivia!
Our staff: this was a photo of our staff after finishing up the first evacuation.
Triage hurricane unit: animals that we could not find rescues or foster homes for during the evacuations went home with staff! These were primarily animals who either had an illness or injury that would be difficult for someone else to manage; or animals with behavioral issues (mostly VERY shy dogs who you can’t easily touch or walk). This was the triage unit we set up at our house.
SPCA Erie: This is the staff at SPCA Serving Erie County, who took 16 dogs (including Homer, pictured) from us.
Staff cleaning: Staff cleaning up crates between evacuation transports!
Two Hearts: this NJ group took 5 dogs from us in the first evacuation.
Brandy and bunny: on Tuesday, while we were getting the last of our cats and dogs into foster, a community member dropped off a bunny. Our shelter only handles cats and dogs, so we weren’t prepared for a bunny! Adoptions Counselor Brandy Reisdorff took the bunny home.
Hurricane puppies: 9 puppies were brought into the shelter in the week between the two evacuations, after their mom was hit by a car. They were evacuated into foster homes.
Ivy and Justin: Ivy is one of our longest-term residents, and has been at the shelter for more than a year. The stress of shelter life makes her seem hyper and aggressive at the shelter; but she’s actually a wonderful dog in a home! We fostered her for both evacuations; this is Justin walking her at the beach (and Ivy looking adoringly at him).
Kim Tomlinson and Bobo: Kim is the Director the Georgetown YMCA. They were doing awesome things to help the community for the flood themselves; but Kim took time out to help us by fostering Bobo, a hound dog that came to us with a broken front leg.
Meghan and Heather: Heather is one of the puppies left with us between the two evacuations, with our vet tech Meghan Drew.