Late Tuesday night, we welcomed 27 cats and kittens, evacuated from St. Croix Animal Welfare Center in the path of Hurricane Maria. This amazing and inspiring rescue effort and was led by members of Island Dog Rescue with help from St. Croix Animal Welfare Society and R.E.A.L. Cruzan Cats. Together, they saved over 300 animals off of the U.S. Virgin Islands. We were honored to be contacted by this group of rescuers and to open our doors and welcome as many cats and kittens as possible. The cats are settling in and we look forward to sharing photos and more information with you soon.
Unfortunately, word from St. Croix Animal Welfare Society posted yesterday through Island Dog Rescue's Facebook page is heartbreaking. The hurricane completely destroyed their facility. From their post: "The puppy room and cat room are completely gone. Roofs blown away. The expensive, heavy metal cages smashed and blown all over..." We are so thankful that these animals were saved from such destruction.
Meanwhile, we await word from all of our other rescue contacts. From Vieques, Puerto Rico, the fate of the rescuers and their facility is unknown. The mainland rescuers of Our Big Fat Caribbean Rescue reported on their Facebook page late last night that they still had not heard updates from many of their team members. Power and phone lines across Puerto Rico and the island of Vieques are completely down, making it hard to connect with our friends and confirm any news.
In Turks and Caicos, our rescue partners are facing a difficult road ahead. A recent update says they have "many orphaned pups in the adoption center, and more coming in daily". They are in dire need of good quality puppy formula and donations.
Our hearts break to read these updates. We will do our absolute best to take great care of the dogs still with us from Texas and now, these 27 sweet cats from St. Croix. Our mission is to give them the best care, lots of love, and to find them the best homes ever! We are ready and willing to take in more animals over the coming months as the rescues continue and rebuilding begins.
There are many ways to help all of the shelters impacted by recent hurricanes. Donations to our Safe Harbor Fund are welcome and will be used to coordinate rescue transports for animals in hurricane-impacted regions. (The 1:1 matching challenge for Safe Harbor Fund donations will continue until 5pm, Thursday, September 21st.)
Additionally, donations can be made directly to our partner organizations using these links:
St. Croix Animal Welfare Society - St. Croix
All Sato Rescue - Puerto Rico
Wags to Riches - Puerto Rico
Our Big Fat Caribbean Rescue - Vieques, Puerto Rico
Chances Dog Rescue and Relocation - Texas
Potcake Place - Turks and Caicos
Together, we will come together and help our friends heal, repair, and rebuild their lives. Thank you for standing with us!
UPDATE: Read more about this heroic rescue effort in a recent Huffington Post article.
First, the good news! Last week, we welcomed the van from Chances Dog Rescue and Relocation of Houston, TX with 16 dogs ready to finally start the next chapter in their lives. They weathered the storm and made the journey and every one of these dogs is so deserving of a new home. Words can't convey the look of relief in their eyes and the sense of joy that we feel caring for them. Many have already been adopted!
With this good news, we are still aware of the very serious threat Hurricane Maria poses for many of our beloved rescue partners. As we look to help, we take stock of our Safe Harbor Fund, assessing resources to determine how many animals we can take in while still insuring that we have the funds necessary to provide them with vet checks, any special medical care needed, and spay/neuter surgeries.
Thankfully, I can follow up good news with even better news...
A local supporter, Lee Graham, has been watching our site and following news of the dogs rescued and transported from Texas. Wanting to do more and hoping to inspire others to give, Mr. Graham has committed to matching donations made to Cape Ann Animal Aid's Safe Harbor Fund dollar for dollar--up to $500--in the next 48 hours!
This donation challenge comes at a critical time because right now, a large-scale evacuation of all shelter dogs and cats in the U.S. Virgin Island is underway. Organized by Island Dog Rescue, this rescue effort will evacuate animals that lost their shelters in U.S. Virgin Islands, St. Thomas and St. John, as a result of Hurricane Irma. With the serious threat of Hurricane Maria looming, Cape Ann Animal Aid joined in this rescue transport effort, coordinated in part by the Billerica Cat Care Coalition.
A cargo plane filled with rescued, evacuated animals landed in Norfolk, VA at around 2am this morning. From there, these animals will be taken to rescue groups across the Northeast. We will be taking in kittens (originally being sheltered at St. Croix Animal Welfare Center) from this rescue transport. We look forward to introducing you to these tiny, lucky souls, very soon!
I’m so very thankful for all of the words of support and inquiries about how to help that have come in to our shelter over the past month. Because we share a deep love for the same animals, our staff, board of directors, and volunteers have come to build strong, everlasting bonds with the rescuers in Texas, Puerto Rico, Turks and Caicos, and now, the U.S. Virgin Islands. We may be miles away, but our hearts go out to them. We will do whatever we can to help and we thank you for standing with us.
The donation challenge put forth by Mr. Graham is a fantastic way to get involved with hurricane aid on a local level. You may chose to give directly to these rescue groups, and those gifts are important too. If you'd like to be a part of this generous donation challenge, know that 100% of your matched gift to the Safe Harbor Fund will benefit animals rescued from hurricane zones.
With your help, we can provide continued care for the Texas rescues and those arriving from St. Croix. We will also be able to commit to more rescue transports in the near future from Puerto Rico (still recovering from Hurricane Irma and currently experiencing Hurricane Maria), Texas (still recovering from Hurricane Harvey) and beyond. In addition, we are committed to sending supplies to our rescue partners when their needs are better identified. The rescue efforts will continue for months and your help is always appreciated.
On behalf of the entire Cape Ann Animal Aid community, we continue to send prayers and thoughts of strength to all those in the path of Hurricane Maria, and all of those still recovering from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.
I write this update with – like so many of our rescue contacts and friends—one eye on the weather forecast. It is hard to comprehend the impact both Hurricanes Harvey and Irma have had (and continue to have) on the animal rescue and greater national community.
Here at Cape Ann Animal Aid, we are hundreds of miles away, but in spirit, we stand with our rescue partners in both Texas and Puerto Rico. We are in contact with the rescue groups and continue to be on standby to accommodate their needs.
From Texas, we are happy to share that a transport has been scheduled and we expect the arrival of about 20 animals from Texas early next week. (More news and photos about that coming soon!) These animals made it though the storm and we are eager to introduce them to the northeast and help them find loving homes where they will be pampered and loved beyond belief! Most of the animals will need to be spayed/neutered and all will need vet exams and vaccine boosters. If you’d like to help us provide for the animals on this transport, we are accepting donations to our Safe Harbor Fund (write Texas in the comments). If you’d prefer, you can also make a donation directly to Chances Dog Rescue and Relocation.
News from our rescue partners in Puerto Rico is that they dodged the worst of the storm, but that doesn’t mean things aren't bad. The conditions for homeless animals (who already face a very difficult life) are dire. Power has not returned to the island and our main contact at All Sato Rescue is currently caring for many animals in her house – including a hen and an orphaned chick! They face flooding in their area and supplies are dwindling. We are eager to organize transports with our rescue partners, but we expect planes to be grounded for several more days. If you’d like to help, you can make a donation to our Safe Harbor Fund (write Puerto Rico in the comments) or donate directly to our rescue partners: All Sato Rescue, Wags to Riches, or Our Big Fat Caribbean Rescue.
WHAT TO GIVE
The recurring message we hear from all of our partners is that at this time, donations of money or gift cards are most helpful. Many do not have access to storage for supplies or cannot yet assess their supply needs. Money and gift cards help with immediate needs as they arise. When this changes, we will let you know.
As Hurricane Irma approaches the Florida coast, it’s hard to know just what to say to our rescue partners, and all those facing the impending storm, to bring them comfort and peace. They are all are facing life-changing hardships and experiencing overwhelming grief, shock, and confusion. What I do know is that you, reading this right now, are a valued member of our Cape Ann Animal Aid family. I know that you will continue to stand with us in spirit and in action. Together, we send our deepest thoughts of strength and love to those that are on the front lines, working hard to save the lives of people and animals in need during this trying time.
Stay tuned for more updates and please, reach out if you have any questions.
On behalf of the entire Cape Ann Animal Aid family, our hearts and minds are with all of the people and animals impacted by Hurricane Harvey. We recently began working with a Houston-based rescue organization called Chances Dog Rescue and Relocation.
Unfortunately, the last trip we had scheduled with this group was for 25 dogs/puppies and was due to arrive late last week. They had to cancel the trip due to the impending storm and we planned to reschedule after the hurricane had passed.
As we all know, the impact of Hurricane Harvey in the Houston area has been absolutely devastating. Honestly, we were unsure of the fate of the animals we were scheduled to take in last week. Our hope was that they were safe with their foster families. On Tuesday, we received word from Tiffany and her family, the founders of Chances Dog Rescue. They were stranded on the second floor of their home with their young kids and pets. Understandably, we did not expect to hear from them again until the immediate danger had passed and their safety was secured.
Just this morning, we heard that the water has receded significantly in their area. There is so much work to be done. I am happy to share that coordination efforts are underway to bring those original 25 dogs/puppies to Cape Ann -- and more in the future. We are ready and willing to help our rescue partner in any way possible.
As our supporters and most valued friends, we know that you stand with us in these efforts. I expect to be able to share more information with you soon. In the meantime, please join us in sending prayers, good thoughts, and healing love to Texas. If you would like to make a direct donation to the rescue group we are working with you may do so here: https://www.chancesrescue.org/
We will continue to provide updates and news about our Texas rescue and support efforts here on this blog.
Cape ann animal aid
An opportunity for you to learn more about the mission and programs of Cape Ann Animal Aid. Sharing candid insights, guest columns, breaking news, and of course, adorable photos of shelter animals.