Dogs Displaced by Hurricane Harvey Arrive at AWLA

Posted on November 7, 2017

Janet Jackson, Truman, Choppa, Bella Luna and Zoe. Five dogs – one story.

There’s a sense of normalcy returning to Houston: residents are back to work, businesses are reopening, emergency response teams are leaving, and the city is relishing in their first-ever World Series Championship. But now comes the hard part for many people and the animals that count on them. Two and a half months after Hurricane Harvey made landfall, Truman, Bella Luna, Choppa, Janet Jackson, and Zoe, as well as countless other strays, still remained in one of the emergency shelters set-up to handle the influx of displaced animals caused by the storm. They waited out a 30-day stray hold period that was put in place to give families a chance to locate and reclaim their storm-displaced pets. When no one came, the city was faced with a harsh reality: finding homes for thousands of lost pets while still managing the constant barrage of the day-to- day intake of a large municipal shelter. That’s when we at AWLA raised our hands to step up.

On November 6, AWLA worked with Best Friends Animal Society in Houston to rescue dogs still in search of homes. Truman, Bella Luna, Choppa, Janet Jackson and Zoe made their way from Texas, to Atlanta, and then up the east coast before arriving in Arlington. And we’re not done helping yet. AWLA is doing everything we can to rescue dogs from Puerto Rico displaced by Hurricane Maria, dogs like Truman, Bella Luna, Choppa, Janet Jackson, and Zoe, that also deserve a second chance. I’ve often spoken about the importance of a robust “humane community.” Community can be anything from a neighborhood, a city, a county, a state, or even a region. With Hurricane Harvey, we saw how broadly the definition of a “humane community” can stretch. Organizations across the country offered help to local Houston shelters – everything from supplies, to financial assistance, to boots on the ground. Given the scale of the human tragedy, the outpouring of support for the animals was nothing short of remarkable.

This whole experience has expanded my understanding of a “humane community.” Community can be a reflection of a location, but also much more than that: community is the ability to lend a hand to anyone who asks for it. That’s what we strive to do each and every day – to help people, and animals, when they need us the most. And for that, I couldn’t be more proud of the team here at the Animal Welfare League of Arlington.

Sam Wolbert, AWLA President & CEO