News reports of Hurricane Dorian’s wrath are heartbreaking. People’s lives and properties being shattered brings tears to the eyes, but many Southern homeless pets escaped unharmed thanks to a nationwide network of caretakers.
“Animal welfare organizations learned a lot from Katrina,” said Becky Tegze, executive director of Pets Alive in Middletown. “We empty out shelters so we’re not leaving staff there to care for the animals, or animals to drown, and we leave staff a space for rescued animals after the storm. That way, those pets can be reunited with their owners.”
Pets Alive is one of the partners in the network headed by Best Friends Animal Society and the ASPCA. The plea went out to partners that Outer Banks shelter pets in the Carolinas would be evacuated and transported to Brandywine Valley SPCA in Delaware, the network’s hub, before the storm hit. Ground and plane transports arrived in Delaware around the clock during the mass animal exodus of more than 350 animals. Partners then picked up animals at the hub.
Again, these were shelter pets, not people’s owned pets, explained Tegze. They are owner surrenders and strays that were already up for adoption.
A team of four from Pets Alive drove to Delaware Sept. 4 and picked up 10 dogs. While all came with medical records, their histories are unknown. All were fixed, vaccinated and microchipped prior to adoption. Here are three of them:
Junebug is a 2-year-old female pit bull who came in extremely underweight. “You can see her ribs and spine,” said Tegze. “We’re going to fatten her up. She is an absolute lovebug. She was doing somersaults in her kennel when we met her to get belly rubs. She just loves to sit in laps.”
Tegze thinks Junebug will be OK with other dogs and kids, but she hasn’t been tested with cats.
Jackie is a 2-year-old, 40-pound American Staffordshire terrier. She is great with kids and other dogs but not cats. She loves to play and give kisses.
Mikey is a 1-year-old Southern brown dog. “You got me,” said Tegze of Mikey’s breed. “He’s 100 percent American mutt. He is good with everyone, about 45 pounds, super playful and has an incredible wiggle butt.”
After being in transport for more than 24 hours, the dogs enjoyed a long sleep their first night in Middletown.
“They’re very happy with their full bellies,” reported Tegze. “They have been through so much, but they are doing wonderful.”
All dogs have been dewormed, and three of the 10 are being treated for tick-born disease. They were all quarantined and are now available for adoption.
“Frog was fascinated with a Spectrum News camera tripod, leapfrogging all over the place,” said Tegze. “We had Junebug out yesterday in the play yard, she was just smelling the New York air. She’s now got a New York state of mind.
“It is amazing what a small group of animal welfare organizations can do when they work together. More than 350 dogs were rescued in front of the hurricane because of organizations working together.”
Monetary donations of are needed to care for these Dorian dogs, as well as canned and dry Pedigree dog food and contractor garbage bags. Donations can be sent to or dropped off at Pets Alive, 363 Derby Road, Middletown, NY 10940 or at http://bit.ly/DorianDogs or call 386-9738.