For most of us, the meal of the year is quickly fading from memory. While
families, friends and neighbors gathered together last Thursday for
Thanksgiving, others were slowly picking up the pieces of their lives after
Hurricane Sandy, the largest Atlantic storm on record. Pummeling the East Coast
beginning on October 29th, the death toll of the 1,000-mile-wide superstorm is
estimated to be 113 human lives. Not tallied, and possibly unknowable, are the
numbers of companion animals lost in the wake of this devastating weather event.
Even as America watched live reports and montages of unimaginable devastation,
our foundation’s Board of Directors began thinking of the lives that weren’t
featured in the earliest breaking news stories … those of homeless dogs and
cats. To assist in rescue and recovery efforts, an emergency session was
convened to determine how the non-profit wing of Life’s Abundance might best
provide assistance to our neighbors to the north.
After reviewing several options, the Dr. Jane’s HealthyPetNet Foundation
approved emergency funding for two rescue organizations, both of which oversee
and coordinate efforts of dozens of other animal rescue groups. Knowing that
time was of the essence, two checks – each for $3,000 – were overnighted to New
York’s Adopt NY and New Jersey’s Coalition for Animals.
In what follows, we’ll review some of the highlights of what your donations
helped to make possible.
Award to Adopt NY in New York:
Founded when two rescue groups joined forces, volunteers for Adopt NY have
dedicated years to saving abandoned companion animals from uncertain ends on the
streets of one of America’s most populous areas. With their combined energies,
they’ve created a truly democratic operation, joining forces of 44 non-profit
rescue groups. This affiliation allows rescues to not only connect to other
volunteers for advice and support, but also enables them to connect with pet
foster parents and potential adopters. Bottom line, more animals are being saved
from long-term shelter stays and euthenasia thanks to Adopt NY’s efforts.
After Sandy struck New York, caretakers – many of whom have dedicated their
lives to fighting animal homelessness – found they no longer had a foster home
to offer. In addition to the dogs and cats who were already homeless, there is
now a whole new wave of animals made homeless by the storm. Adding insult to
injury, damage was reported in at least one shelter facility, where floodwaters
ruined food and medical supplies.
Adopt NY lost no time mounting a response to the unfolding tragedy, seeking to
provide the two most pressing necessities – shelter and supplies. Even as they
began making calls and appeals online for food, medicine and places to stay,
they also started asking for financial contributions. Dr. Jane heard their
appeal, which ultimately led to our emergency grant of $3,000 slated toward the
costs of feeding hundreds of animals.
Renting a delivery truck to transport seven tons of food and supplies,
volunteers embarked on a 14-hour trip through the five boroughs (including
Yonkers) doling out supplies to rescues with the greatest needs. In the words of
Rob Maher, Fundraising and Corporate Outreach Director, “Thanks in large part to
the generosity of the Dr. Jane's HealthyPetNet Foundation, we’ve purchased over
14,000 lbs and counting of high quality dog food, cat food and cat litter.” And,
thanks to Adopt NY’s negotiating skills and the goodwill of their suppliers,
everything purchased was at a discounted price, allowing the rescue to maximize
the buying power of the donations.
Within just three weeks of the disaster, more than 800 people had already
applied to become foster parents for homeless pets. All of those applications
have been distributed to Adopt NY’s network of rescues. It is our fervent hope
that all of the homeless animals will find long-term, loving places to call home
… and very soon.
Award to Coalition for Animals in New Jersey
In continuous operation since 1994, Coalition for Animals (CFA) has been under
the direction of Rose Rosenbaum for more than a decade. Not limited to saving
cats and dogs, CFA has been involved in a diversity of animal species, including
creatures from zoos and circuses, “wild” animals saved from fur industry
merchants, as well as more traditional farm animals.
When we first spoke to Rose on November 9th, CFA was still trying to ascertain
the needs of their affiliated rescues. Even as late as two weeks after landfall,
some rescues located near the Atlantic shore remained unreachable. Rose led by
example, loading her car with hay for temporary bedding for numerous feral cat
colonies, and driving to several locations to judge the extent of the damage.
Based upon her investigations and requests for information, they divvied up our
contribution and redistributed 100% of our $3,000 grant among ten of the
Coalition’s rescues. Each of the ten received at least $100 and not more than
$500, and amounts were dependent upon the severity of each group’s need.
- Act for Animals, based in Maple Shade, which post-storm is providing meals for
approximately 300 feral cats in and around Camden, a significant increase in the
homeless feline population.
- Located in New Egypt, All About Them Giant Breed Rescue provides care for 37
large canines. In addition to taking on a Rottweiler, two Great Danes and an
English Mastiff – each from a different shelter dealing with their own
storm-related problems – they also took in two cats who survived perilous flood
- Based in Spotswood, All Critters Rescue suffered losses from their flock of
saved animals, including two sheep and two ducks. The animals perished when a
tree crashed into their barn and high winds demolished the duck shelter. In
spite of their grief, they heeded the call when asked to take in two more
creatures, both cats displaced by the storm.
- Just prior to Sandy’s landfall, Point Pleasant Beach’s Shore Area Volunteers 4
Animals intervened in a hoarding situation, saving the lives of 60 cats. Having
just gotten the felines settled, most of whom required medical care due to dire
living conditions, the power went out. The medication required refrigeration;
consequently, all of it was ruined. In spite of this remarkable bit of bad
timing, these die-hard rescuers still took in an additional cat who suffered
blindness due to high blood pressure during the storm. What the group had
classified as a “devastating” scenario was turned around by an amazing act of
generosity. A donor gave them a brand new generator, a gift that was personally
delivered all the way from Texas … that’s a 34-hour drive, one-way!
- Stanton’s NJ Animeals provides food for homebound families who share what
little they have with companion animals. Some of these folks endured great
hardship due to Sandy, and Animeals has been doing their best to make sure their
people have food to eat.
- Already tasked with feeding several feral cat colonies, Seaside Heights Animal
Welfare Group witnessed firsthand a huge jump in the number of homeless cats
after the storm. They’ve been doing their best under difficult circumstances to
feed hundreds of cats, many of whom are presumably in the wild for the first
time, having been abandoned - voluntarily or involuntarily - due to the storm.
- In Barnegat, One By One Cat Rescue has taken in half a dozen new cats and is
doing their level best to make room for more. One of the queens took up
residence in a stranger’s garage, giving birth shortly before the storm hit. The
garage was deluged with flood waters, but all six – that’s five healthy kittens
– were saved, and are now comfortable at a volunteer’s residence.
- The remaining three rescues, each with their own resilience and dogged
determination to rescue those affected by Sandy, have dedicated their efforts
solely to saving the lives of cats. While specific details about their endeavors
are sparse at present, we honor their work in stating their names and locations:
Calling All Cats Rescue in Bayville, Operation Kindness in Little Silver and
God’s Creatures Ministry located in Wayne. We salute each and every one of these
small organizations for every life they have saved.
While no completely accurate count of the number of animal lives saved and
bettered may ever be known, our readers can take heart in knowing that scores of
companion animals have been positively affected by their support.
We give our sincere thanks to all of our readers and customers who, through
their personal donations and continued patronage, made these emergency donations
possible. The same goes to all of the volunteers – many enduring hardships of
their own – who have dedicated their time and energy to making life better for
the feline and canine survivors of Hurricane Sandy.