With the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina, we are all tripping over ourselves, trying to think of meaningful ways that we can help either the people or pets of the Gulf Coast. If you are still looking for things you can do, here are a few ideas that might get your creative juices flowing.
Often in times of disaster, we tend to focus on how we can help in the big picture, totally missing out on meaningful contributions that we can make on a local level. Case in point, let me tell you about one of my local humane societies, The Humane Society of the Tennessee Valley. After Katrina, this organization opened it's doors to the pets and families that had been effected. Not only did they prepare to take in abandoned animals, but they volunteered to board, free of charge, pets for any evacuee until families could get back into a situation where they could care for that pet. In conjunction with the University of Tennessee Vet School, they also offered free health checks, vaccinations, and microchips for the pets belonging to anyone who showed up with a drivers license from one of the effected states. Even the Knoxville Zoo stepped forward to house pets that were a little too "exotic" to be cared for at the Humane Society's facilities (last I heard, that included a hedgehog and a couple of snakes).
Obviously, with a sudden influx in animals, a shelter would need supplies. Soon the cry went out for old towels or anything else that could be used as beds, bowls, toys, leashes, or any of a number of things that most dog owners might have lying around their house.
Does your dog have any toys that it doesn't play with? Did you just buy a new dog bed, but haven't thrown away the old, yet? What about those frayed old towels that you were keeping around to wash the car or dust your house with? What about buying two bags of food next time you are out, instead of just one.
Also, keep in mind that local humane societies actually receive very little monetary support from any national organizations. So most of these services are coming right out of that local budget. So don't feel hesitant about making a donation to a local level shelter, either one near you that is taking in hurricane animals or one in the Gulf States themselves (a web search can probably pull up the names of any number of effected shelters). You can rest assured that your donation or supplies will be greatly appreciated.
Leave a Reply