If you’ve lived in Florida through hurricane season, you know how it feels as a storm draws close. The sky darkens, the wind increases, and people hurry to buy food, batteries and bottled water so that they can wait out the storm safely. Unfortunately for homeless animals and those displaced by storms, there is no such thing as disaster preparedness.
So, with hurricane season rapidly approaching, Humane Society Naples is doing everything in its power to be ready should disaster strike—in our community and throughout the state. While we hope for a quiet season in which no one is impacted by these terrible storms, we know that the odds suggest a storm could make landfall somewhere in our region.
My time in Florida has been shaped by hurricanes. Just weeks after I accepted the job to be the new executive director at HSN, Hurricane Irma swept through Southwest Florida and left significant destruction in her wake. We relied on assistance from both our community and outside animal welfare groups to provide for the animals we had in our care.
Your generous financial support will fund our disaster preparedness program, giving us the ability to stockpile needed food and water for shelter animals.
Thanks to all the outreach within the community and the generous support of friends like you, we made it through, but I vowed to be even more prepared for the next one. To do that, we need your help. Your contribution will provide additional medical supplies for our clinic to treat injured animals in the community and board animals who might be displaced.
Our team is prepped, but we have to make sure they have the supplies, water, medicine and emergency shelter space to help animals in need. Last year, our furry friends in the Panhandle were severely affected by Hurricane Michael. Because of the generous support of our donors, we were able to respond in a hurry. We made trips to the areas affected by Hurricane Michael both before the storm, to get animals out of harm’s way, and after the storm, to rescue animals in need.
We helped dogs like Columbia and her six siblings. All seven Chihuahuas were terrified when we rescued them from a mobile home that was bisected by a large tree during the storm. They were so traumatized that they needed intensive behavioral work, but one by one they started to overcome their fear and were adopted by loving families. At this time, only Columbia remains with us in foster care. We’ve worked diligently over the past year to bring her out of her shell. And while she’s still fearful in some situations, she is getting closer to the day when we can find her a forever family.
Recovering from a hurricane can’t happen overnight—it takes tremendous resources to get animals who have gone through traumatic experiences ready for adoption. Your support has made Columbia’s journey possible.
This year we want to be ready to do even more, and your support will help us be better prepared. Below you’ll find a note from Gabe Waters, our Director of Animal Care. He was part of the team dispatched to the Panhandle after the storm. His first-hand experiences have made it clear that the more resources and supplies we have, the better able we are to respond when disaster strikes—and the more animals we can help.
Please take a moment to read Gabe’s dispatch from the field. Your donation will help us prepare for the next disaster, wherever it might strike, and make a difference in the lives of thousands of animals.