OHS assisting with Hurricane Ida response

Team Update: Sept. 11

Today is our last day of deployment, and there is a solemn feeling in the air as we mark the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. This day is also a National Day of Service and Remembrance, and we are all especially grateful to be working alongside our team member Joe Dickson, who served 24 years in the military including six deployments.

We got into a routine for the day and worked fast. This allowed us extra time to help the dogs socialize in playgroups. Being able to play and socialize is setting these dogs up for success in their next shelter. The amount of time we have been able to spend with the dogs is a gift, and what we have learned about them should help them find their new homes faster. We also began to learn their history – some had been at the shelter in Louisiana for up to six months, and others had been part of cruelty cases. “Knowing their history gave us more of a connection and sense of purpose,” says OHS team member Malyia.

As we finished our last day of work, we each reflected on the special connections we’d made with the dogs. Melissa and a big, exuberant pitbull named Baltic formed a special bond during the week. “The best part of the week was focusing Baltic’s energy on grabbing a toy when he was excited,” says Melissa. “He looked at me as if he was saying ‘you get me.’”

Another member of the ASPCA team arrived today and will be part of the group caring for the dogs for one more day before they begin their journey to partner shelters on Monday. The dogs all have a special place in our hearts after caring for them this past week and we are all proud of the work we did to help with the recovery from Hurricane Ida.

Team Update: Sept. 9

It’s day 3 of our deployment and our team is settling into a rhythm and starting to click. The dogs are also learning the routine and their personalities are really starting to shine. Each day, they continue to blossom and learn.

Our team rotates tasks between walking dogs and cleaning kennels. Today, Laura and Joe cleaned kennels while Malyia, Jamie, Julie and Melissa walked dogs.

The behavior expert from the ASPCA is guiding us through pairing up the dogs so they can meet each other on leash and eventually have playdates. Since these dogs will be transferred to ASPCA’s shelter partners, any behavior info that can be gathered will be very helpful to potential adopters. We also focus on the dogs’ enrichment by providing interactive toys and giving them treats when they sit in their kennel. All of these things set them up for success in the future.

Working with the ASPCA is an amazing experience. The leadership, processes, supplies and expertise they provide has made us all realize how grateful we are to be working with them – especially during the uncertainties of a disaster response.

One of the cutest moments of the day was from a dog named Willow. She is a stocky little pittie who loves to learn and show off her new skills. When you approach her kennel, she immediately sits proudly and waits for a treat. The kennels are fairly small, so she sits back on her raised kuranda bed when you greet her. This position is becoming habit for Willow. Today, Jamie took Willow outside and asked her to sit. Instead of sitting all the way on the ground, Willow crouched back as if she was sitting on her (invisible) kuranda bed. This story made us all smile as we left the shelter for the day.

Team Update: Sept. 7

When we arrived at the emergency animal shelter set up by the ASPCA early this morning, we learned that the dogs we would be caring for were moved out of a shelter in the New Orleans area just a few days ago. These were dogs who were already in the shelter before the storm hit. Moving them out of the area frees up space and resources to help pets and people directly impacted by the hurricane.

While we don’t know what these dogs, and the shelter employees, had been through since Hurricane Ida struck, it was gratifying to know that our team was here to help.

We rolled up our sleeves and got to work providing daily care for the dogs – feeding, walking, and cleaning kennels. These dogs will eventually be transferred to ASPCA shelter partners for adoption, so we also focused on understanding their behavior and teaching them basic manners. The sweltering heat often meant that walks were short followed by snuggle time in the shade.

At the end of the day, OHS team member Joe Dickson reflected on the first day of his first natural-disaster deployment. “I’m really tired, but we had purpose today and that means a lot.”

Sept. 6, 2021

Six members of OHS’ disaster response team have been deployed to Tennessee to assist with Hurricane Ida relief and recovery efforts.

The team includes staff and volunteers who are certified in Emergency Animal Sheltering as well as members of OHS’ Technical Animal Rescue Team. They will be working with the ASPCA at an emergency shelter in Tennessee.

“OHS has a long history of disaster response, most notably during Hurricane Katrina in 2005,” says Sharon Harmon, OHS President and CEO. “The impact of Hurricane Ida was so widespread, and we know it will take a long time for these communities to fully recover. I am glad OHS is able to help with this effort.”

OHS relies on supporters like you to fund its disaster response, adoption, education and animal rescue programs. Be a lifeline for animals in need and make a donation today.


Disaster Response at OHS

Oregon Humane Society has more than 130 staff and volunteers who are certified in Emergency Animal Sheltering. This means they have completed FEMA course work, participated in drills and have advanced animal handling skills. Additionally, the OHS technical animal rescue team can rappel down cliffs, climb trees and maneuver through challenging environments to rescue pets in distress.