Answering the call when disaster strikes
“How can we help?” This is always the first question that comes up at OHS when a natural disaster hits. Days after the deadly tornadoes touched down in Alabama, OHS was contacted by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) to see if our shelter could take in any of the 150 pets they were transporting out of shelters from the area. Transporting shelter pets, who are already available for adoption, out of an affected area is one of the best ways to free up space and resources in the days following a disaster.
The OHS Operations team gathered to make sure there would be room for the pets from Alabama without disrupting any of the regularly scheduled transfers of pets from shelter partners including Multnomah and Washington County Animal Services. The answer was a resounding “yes, we can help.”
Rescues like these are made possible by donations from animal-lovers like you.
Seven other shelters also answered the call for help from HSUS and agreed to receive pets from the disaster-affected area. These include Seattle Humane Society, Humane Society for Southwest Washington, Newberg Animal Shelter, Lincoln County Animal Shelter, Progressive Animal Welfare Society, Hood River Adopt a Dog and Willamette Humane Society.
Before the pets began their journey to Oregon, a member of the OHS Admissions team, Luba Wagner, went to Alabama to help the HSUS team prepare the animals, organize paperwork and load the plane.
On Sunday, the eight agencies gathered their vehicles on the tarmac, eagerly awaiting the arrival of the dogs and cats from Alabama. There was a great camaraderie among the group – a wonderful testament to the collective compassion in the Northwest. As the plane touched down the group erupted in applause.
Of the 150 pets on the flight, OHS received 47 of them: 17 dogs and 30 cats. One by one, each crate was unloaded and sorted. OHS brought two vehicles – one to transport the cats and one for dogs. After a long flight together, it was time for the cats to enjoy some quiet time, away from the barking dogs.
Back at OHS, the pets were checked in, given a quick assessment and settled in for the night on soft beds in their kennels. On Monday afternoon some will begin the last leg of their journey – to an adoptive home. The OHS website will post these pets as they become available for adoption. See all available pets here.