Sat May 25, 2013
Stories of loss and sadness and devastation mix with stories of happiness and relief as loved ones are reunited in the aftermath of the tornado. That includes reunions between humans and their animal companions, many thanks to online postings by organizations and individuals helping to make happy endings possible.
After the tornado ripped through Moore, Oklahoma, the stories and pictures were hauntingly familiar, especially for folks who live in communities that have endured one of these terrible events. Thousands of people were left homeless, hundreds injured, two dozen people killed and an estimated two billion dollars in damage. But those numbers don’t include the uncounted animals killed, injured, displaced and traumatized by the massive storm.
As the Red Cross and other agencies quickly moved in to help people in the aftermath of the tornado, other groups mobilized to aid the four-footed victims of the storm. They include the North Shore Animal League, who deployed one of their mobile rescue units to offer support for pets and their owners. Emergency animal shelters were set up because there are too many for local shelters to handle.
Search dogs were invaluable in helping to locate and rescue storm victims, dangerous work with all the splintered wood and shards of glass among the debris piled up and littering the area. At least one search and rescue dog had to be treated for a nail in its foot. The dogs worked tirelessly beside their handlers and other rescue workers as they searched throughout the day and night in hopes of finding those trapped in the rubble.
If you want to help, there are a number of animal-related organizations that could use your support. The Oklahoma City Animal Shelter needs pet food, blankets and towels. The Pet Food Pantry of Oklahoma City would appreciate donations of pet food along with food bowls and other pet supplies. The Central Oklahoma Humane Society is in need of paper towels, gloves, and food for its volunteers. Visit their websites for more information or to make a financial contribution to their relief efforts.
Social media has become a very helpful tool to connect people who have lost their pets with people who have found animals. The Moore Oklahoma Tornado Lost and Found Animals Facebook page has about fourteen thousand likes already. Even in the face of such disaster, it is gratifying to see people working together to make a very real difference, especially when you’re speaking of pets.