This story may begin in a Humane Society in Sioux City, Iowa, where over 70 pets are being placed under foster care. The doors of the shelters have stayed open in the wake of the catastrophes spawned by the incessant floods and tornadoes crossing state lines and time zones of America’s heartland. Accepting donations, applications from foster pet-owners, and even providing kennels, pet taxis, collars, leashes, and whatever pet needs can be met.
For a domesticated animal, a lost home is a lost habitat, and only the tip of iceberg for the true damages. In Joplin, MO with civilization thrown apart by a mammoth of a twister leaving several men, women, and children unaccounted for and missing, rescue workers have found almost 1000 pets -- reunited about 300 with their previous owners.
One dog found giving a barely-audible faint bark, dehydrated huddled under a debris-covered bed 12 days after the storm. For nearly two weeks, the dog was trapped “everything from the attic, to insulation, shingles and roofing," explained by ASPCA Midwest Director of Field Investigations & Response Anti-Cruelty Group Kyle Held. Humane Societies have become makeshift animal hospitals for our hurt and distraught friends.
With the Joplin Humane Society going beyond capacity, shelters from Kansas City, Springfield, Pittsburg Carthage and other cities have intervened to offer their space and support. Another temporary shelter constructed by the ASPCA with over 100 staff members and volunteers is prepared to house upwards to 1,200 displaced animals.
Families come through those doors -- some that have lost it all in material possessions, some who have lost a loved one, and some suffering from injuries caused by Mother Nature’s wrath. But for all the families, finding their pet in one piece is a moment of solace.
“This is a beacon of hope," said Tim Rickey, southeast regional director ASPCA Investigations and Response and Joplin native. "Almost 500 pets have come through the doors – dogs, cats, a ferret, rabbits and birds – including parakeets, cockatiels and some 30 chickens. Watching families find their animal is special. Thursday a family of five came in looking scratched and bruised with two on crutches. Once they found their dog … they were laughing and joking and cutting up and smiling. They found one thing in their life they could cling back onto.”
Contact your local humane society to learn more about donating and how to volunteer.
The Joplin Humane Society is open from 8 A.M. to 8 P.M. Pets that have been identified and listed can be found at www.joplinhumane.org. They are also accepting donations and applications for volunteers.
Image: Courtesy of The Humane Society of the United States / via Facebook