Amid the devastation and continuing horrors the storms and hurricanes that have ravaged many areas in the U.S. have recently caused, there are many heroes whose courage, conviction and dedication to helping others has thankfully emerged, including, but certainly not limited to, the animal shelters that have taken in numerous dogs, cats and other animals that unfortunately found themselves displaced, frightened, ill and homeless.
An appropriate moniker for the staff and volunteers who have worked tirelessly to help these animals could be Angels Unaware - which basically describes anyone whose selfless actions are undertaken solely for the benefit of someone else. Those dogs and cats (and Theodore too!) who have suddenly found themselves in the Hamptons are certainly the recipients of the many Angels Unaware from ARF
, Southampton Animal Shelter Foundation
(SASF), and Kent Animal Shelter
Scott Howe, Executive Director of ARF Hamptons, advised, "All the animals that were rescued by ARF's intervention and distributed among these three organizations were either abandoned in shelters or surrendered by owners."
Theodore the hamster was among rescues. (Courtesy Photo: SASF)
Kent Animal Shelter, based in Calverton, has been helping animals for 45 years. Director Pam Green
relayed, "Neither we nor Southampton Animal Shelter have mobile units, so ARF worked with us to receive the animals that came from Texas. We were initially supposed to take 15 dogs, however, we only received six, which I'm happy to report have all been adopted. We received another four from Texas, and this Wednesday we will be receiving 13 dogs from Puerto Rico. Also, on October 25, we will take more dogs from Texas, maybe 20 to 25."
Howe advised, "ARF reached out to Austin Pets Alive the Monday after Hurricane Harvey hit and then coordinated which shelter would be able to take in how many animals. ARF gathered a team of five staff and one volunteer Board member who drove to Texas to bring back 57 cats and dogs. ARF kept 27 dogs and cats, and we are happy to report the others have been adopted, except those that are still being treated for heartworm and are not yet available for adoption."
Kate McEntee, Director of Adoption for SASF stated, "When we have to make room to save lives, we will. This has been a collaborative effort. We initially took in six dogs, and then another six through the Humane Society U.S., and all but two have been adopted."
El faro de los Animales in Humacao, Puerto Rico destroyed by Hurricane Maria. (Courtesy Photo: SASF)
McEntee acknowledges, "We have a great training team, and provide trainers to determine the best home, training for the public, and even puppy play groups. Following Hurricane Irma, we met with the Mayor's Alliance of New York City
, and took in six dogs, two cats and a hamster named Theodore."
Kent Animal Shelter can accommodate about 30 dogs at one time, and Green advised, "Many of the dogs we have received need quite a bit of medical attention, and we tend to that, as well as spay or neuter before posting a dog for adoption."
According to Howe, "ARF was founded as a small local shelter and over 40 years we have grown to be able to help nationally wherever there is a need, and our community of adopters and donors make this possible."
Linda MacDonald and Ricky Appling of Kent Animal Shelter, Michele and Jamie Forrester of ARF Hamptons. (Courtesy Photo)
SASF does a "fully loaded" service on pets, including spay and neuter, microchips and vaccinations according to McEntee. "We have received some very traumatized animals. Basically we do have a maximum of dogs that we can take in, but during a time of crisis, we have dogs in our offices, etc. We make room. In fact, just yesterday we received 34 dogs from the El faro de los Animales in Humacao, Puerto Rico, Hurricane Maria hit 10 miles from the shelter and it was destroyed. The dogs were flown here in a private plane."
Howe further revealed, "ARF works with shelters in Puerto Rico, and a shelter we have worked with in Rincon for 12 years has no power or water. ARF has chartered a cargo plane that will go Puerto Rico and bring back 45 dogs this week."
On a pawsitive note, McEntee states, "We receive some very shy and fearful animals, and [we] are going to love and care for them, and teach them how to trust again."
ARF Animal Care Associate Sam Darenberg preparing to receive dogs from Puerto Rico this Wednesday. (Courtesy Photo: ARF)
All three of these organizations urge any pet owner to please consider having your four-footed friend both micro-chipped and either spayed or neutered. Although these many animals were either abandoned or surrendered before the storms hit, many other displaced pets have been reunited with their owners due to microchips. As Green stated, "It is almost impossible to reunite animals with owners once they get to shelters if they have no microchip, it then becomes time to heal them and place them up for adoption." Having your pet spayed and/or neutered will greatly reduce overpopulation and increase the chances for ones without a home to perhaps have one in the future.
A great deal of heartfelt thanks should be extended to these Angels Unaware, along with the countless others who have joined together to make sure the unconditional love we receive from our four-footed friends is not forgotten.
For more information on ARF, go to www.arfhamptons.org
, or call 631-537-0400.
For more information on SASF, go to southamptonanimalshelter.com
, or call 631-728-PETS (7387).
For more information on Kent Animal Shelter, go to www.kentanimalshelter.com
, or call 631-727-5731.
Eileen Casey spent many years working in the television and music industries in New York City on the "ABC In Concert" weekly series, as well as several prime time network and cable television specials. An award-winning journalist, editor, and artist, and former Editor-in-Chief of Hamptons.com, she enjoys staying warm in Charleston and cool in the Hamptons.