I have a personal friend and regular reader who sat in his home and watched a tornado tear through his neighborhood, ripping up houses, trees and destroying lives. He owns a pitbull named “Jed”. Miraculously, he and his pet are safe, but many others are not. Hundreds of people are dead and many more are homeless.
Although the human tragedies cannot be understated, as a veterinarian I am obligated to focus on the innocent, helpless other victims, the pets. Social media is creating sites to reunite precious items with their owners, and many organizations are struggling to reunite lost pets with their families.
Can you imagine how much easier it would be to find your beloved pet if he or she had a microchip? I earnestly plead with all pet owners of dogs AND cats to have microchips placed in their pets. If you think such random acts of devastation could never happen to you, ask the people affected by the tornadoes if they expected to lose their pet in an instant of uncontrolled natural disaster. Ask the people of New Orleans who were trans-located by Hurricane Katrina.
Ask my client whose house went up in flames due to a faulty electrical wire and whose dog fled in terror before the owners returned home. Ask me, who has had two dogs returned to me due to microchips- one who decided to wander off and was found almost ten miles away by a control officer, and another that went through his electric fence and was killed by a passing car. His body was found, scanned, and returned to my family. Despite the tears and grief, we were so thankful to have closure and be able to honor his memory rather than never knowing what happened to him.
Please get your pet microchipped. Disasters can occur without warning, and pets can not tell their rescuers where their family lives, but a microchip can.
Below is a plea from an amazing organization that serves the homeless and their pets. As all my readers know, I am a strong advocate of helping these pet families, and encourage you to do what you can to assist in their time of need. Hopefully you and your community will never need this kind of help- but if you do, compassionate, non-judgmental groups may very well be your only saviors.
Dr. Rebecca Saria, Gold Coast Mobile Veterinary Service of Connecticut
The nation’s deadliest tornado outbreak in almost four decades in the Southeast has left hundreds dead and thousands homeless, many with pets. Pets of the Homeless, a national nonprofit provides pet food and veterinary care to the homeless. Pets of the Homeless is inviting veterinarians in the areas of devastation to contact them to apply for aid to cover the costs of the many injured pets that belong to the countless families left homeless. Pets of the Homeless is also asking collection sites and distributing organizations such as food banks and pet food pantries in the affected areas, to contact the nonprofit to discuss how they can assist with pet food and supplies.
Help is needed. Pets of the Homeless is requesting their supporters and the public to raise money for the victims in the Southeast so the nonprofit can provide needed veterinary care and pet food. Different types of donations can be made on the website or at one of the many collection sites listed. The organization is also seeking volunteers who can help by starting a collection site for pet food donations.
Pets of the Homeless