Building a More Humane Community
by Lee Chambers
This fall Dakin staff were deployed to New Jersey to help with animals being evacuated from Puerto Rico. Our partner group flew over 500 animals to the United States in a massive effort to clear the shelters so animal welfare workers on the island could focus on the needs of pets displaced by Hurricane Maria. We want to share how your support is helping pets and people when they need us most.
After receiving a call for help, Dakin staff headed out to New Jersey where animals were arriving by the plane-full from Puerto Rico. But before heading on the road, we filled our Dakin van to the brim with supplies. Working with a local group – Nueva Esperanza– we helped get the donations they collected for people affected by Hurricane Maria out to New Jersey then on a plane to Puerto Rico. Working with many different organizations we were able to help both people and pets in a time of crisis.
Arriving at St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center, Dakin staff were faced with hundreds of animals all waiting to be medically evaluated, cleaned, vaccinated and cared for before being transported to other shelters around the country where they would have a chance at finding their new home. Each night planeloads of animals landed at a New Jersey airport --sometimes arriving as late as 2am. Our team was there until the early morning hours, making sure all cats, dogs (and even pigs!) were unloaded and settled into their temporary home.
Once the plane was unloaded of animals, it was then reloaded with crucial supplies to take back to the people of Puerto Rico.
Staff worked around the clock to make sure every animal was treated and healthy before they moved on to their next leg of the journey. We’re proud of and grateful for our partnerships with St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center, the Humane Society of the United States and many other organizations that came together and gave a new life to each animal on the plane –and for the second life saved in Puerto Rico by ensuring there was one more spot available in shelters.
Despite the long hours and hard work, everyone still found time for some love and cuddles. After traveling hundreds of miles in crates and carriers these animals were so grateful for some attention; a puppy selfie, snuggles, and kisses on the cheek.
After 2 trips and more than 30 hours of work, it was time to return to Dakin. Our staff headed down to New Jersey with a full van and they come home the same way –this time full of animals all looking for new homes.
Thanks to you, animals evacuated from Puerto Rico have found new families and new lives here in the Pioneer Valley.
Your contributions on #GivingTuesday, November 28th, will help us be prepared to lend a hand when people and animals need us most. Together we can build a more humane community for people and pets –changing lives throughout the Pioneer Valley and beyond.