As our supporters and friends know, Cape Ann Animal Aid has been operating on all fronts these past two months. From donation drives to fundraising pleas for help, we continue to do all that we can to send supplies and accommodate increased intake from rescue partners in regions recently hit by hurricanes. While this goal was ambitious, and left our shelter filled to over 50% of our average capacity, we have the support of many to thank for helping to make it all happen. To date, we have been able to take in animals from St. Croix, Turks and Caicos, Texas, and Puerto Rico – with more rescue trips in the works.
But in the midst of all of this, we were compelled to maintain our previously scheduled rescue transport trips with partner shelters in other regions of the United States. These groups were not directly impacted by the hurricanes, but they were and are still facing an up-hill battle in regards to animal overpopulation and high euthanasia rates. These rescue partners in Georgia and Louisiana were still counting on us and we couldn’t let them down.
Thankfully, Cape Ann Animal Aid was recently awarded an $8,000 grant from the Petco Foundation to support our Safe Harbor Transportation Program. The purpose of this grant was to help us extend our animal lifesaving efforts and serve the Petco Foundation’s mission to raise the quality of life for pets and people who love and need them. Thanks to this funding support, we were able to uphold our previously-scheduled transport plans, saving 66 animals from Louisiana and Georgia since September 1st. We send deepest thanks to the Petco Foundation for believing in our mission and investing in this important work.
At the end of September, two of our staff members, Kayla and Jacquie, set out on one of these transport pick ups, coordinated in partnership with Sweet Paws Rescue. They drove over 650 miles to the meeting point in Virginia and returned to Massachusetts with 15 dogs and 3 cats from Louisiana. This trip included nursing mama, Foxy, and her seven puppies (seen below).
For more information about the Petco Foundation, visit www.petcofoundation.org. Join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram or by using the hashtag #PetcoFoundation.
DONATION DRIVE FOR RESCUE PARTNERS
We are now collecting donations to send to our rescue partners in Puerto Rico, Texas, and Turks and Caicos!
Another transport from Texas is expected to arrive at our shelter on October 9th. We're so happy to be able to help more animals that recently experienced such terrifying weather. After we unload the pups (and give them lots of love and attention), we'll be filling the transport van with animal care and cleaning supplies to return to Texas. We also have shipping containers to get items to our rescue partners in Puerto Rico.
That same week, we have an opportunity to get much needed donations down to our friends in Turks and Caicos. A generous donor is holding two pallets of space for these donations in a cargo shipment scheduled to go out on October 9th. The Turks and Caicos SPCA, which recently had power restored after 20 days without, is working hard to help the animals in their community, including many orphaned puppies in need of Esbilac Puppy Milk Replacer (puppy formula).
Donations can be dropped off at our Christopher Cutler Rich Animal Shelter during open hours. If you'd rather shop online, check out our Hurricane Relief Amazon Wish List and items will be shipped to us.
We are in close contact with our beloved rescue partners in Puerto Rico, both on the mainland and on the island of Vieques. The level of devastation they are facing is unimaginable. We are on standby to help however possible. Unfortunately, mail delivery is still stalled and they are unable to drive and pick up any shipments to them at this time. They are conserving any gas they have left for the possibility of any animal rescue transport trips and want to be able to get the animals to the airport when needed. We will be sure to keep you updated. Thank you for your continued support!
UPDATED 10/2/2017 WITH INFORMATION ABOUT PUERTO RICO SHIPMENT PLANS AND NEW LIST.
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.
GOOD NEWS FIRST!
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.
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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.