Our Pet Column

Published weekly and read widely in The Watch, Telluride Daily Planet and Telluride Inside…and Out as well as this website the Pet Column offers insights from the Second Chance’s pet of the week on a variety of topics.

Helping Harvey Victims

Dear Worried. 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 always so uplifting and appreciated. Please read below as I have summarized the main points that Second Chance has been offering to those who want to help.

Dear Pet Column,

I have been seeing images of so many animals that were 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.

Sincerely, Worried about Wet Animals

Dear Worried. 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 always so uplifting and appreciated. Please read below as I have summarized the main points that 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 has been that serious lessons were learned from the last massive natural disaster to devastate the south, and as a result it is possible that 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 have included pets, because so many were left behind and lost during Katrina. Also, the response efforts have been much more organized and focused upon keeping displaced pets in the area and not transporting them across the country to whichever shelters will 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 (that were 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) to find new homes.

This mass shuffling of thousands of shelter animals opened up space in Houston’s regional shelters for pets who were 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 and still very vital and urgent. The 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 pets. 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 upon their 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 this storm.

In closing I will add that, as I have looked at footage of evacuations and rescue, I have been so moved seeing people wading through floodwaters more often carrying their pets 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…) and I hope that whoever is lucky enough to adopt me and my energetic, loving, playful soul also knows that I too am worth more than the sum of one’s possessions.

Second Chance Humane Society Animal Resource Center and Thrift Shops service San Miguel, Ouray and Montrose counties. Call the SCHS Helpline at 970-626-2273 to report a lost pet or to learn about adopting a homeless pet and the SCHS spay/neuter, volunteer, feral cat or other programs. View our shelter pets and services at adoptmountainpets.org.

Second Chance Humane Society

Contact

(970) 626-2273 | phone
animalcare@adoptmountainpets.org
(970) 626-3233 | Ridgway thrift
(970) 728-1100 | Telluride thrift

Address

PO Box 2096 [mailing]
177 County Road 10
Ridgway, CO 81432

Shelter Hours

Animal Resource Center 11 am - 6 pm
Cat Castle 11 am - 6 pm
Dog Den 11 am - 5:45 pm