Helping Pets Affected by Hurricane Florence

Posted on October 2, 2018

Another year, another devastating natural disaster. This time, a hurricane right in our backyard.

Hurricane Florence smashed into North Carolina on September 14th, leaving a trail of wide-scale destruction. At least 48 deaths were attributed to the storm, which caused an estimated $38 billion dollars of damage, making it the sixth costliest hurricane in US history. Sadly, this is the new reality. Every year, there seems to be a once-in-a-generation disaster that displaces people (and pets), devastates infrastructure, and forever changes the community in which it occurs. If there is a glimmer of hope in all this destruction, it’s the recognition of companion animals in emergency plans and the overwhelmingly positive response to pets in need.

Here in Arlington, you helped us answer that call for help when Florence was bearing down on the Carolinas. We sent 52 animals home over one weekend through our “Hurricane Hero” adoption promotion, effectively clearing the shelter so that we could transfer in animals displaced by the storm. We then worked with rescue partners to coordinate the arrival of homeless animals from North Carolina to Arlington. Two of our staff went to Delaware to meet a scheduled transfer of animals from the areas hardest hit by Hurricane Florence. “There were rows and rows of dogs that had been brought up because of the hurricane,” said one AWLA staff member. “We had room for ten dogs that day, but deciding which dogs to bring back to the shelter was really hard – we just wanted to bring them all! But we knew that there were other shelters and rescues on their way to pick up the others.”

Luckily, those ten (including Vicky, pictured above), and many more, are here in Arlington. Some will require intensive follow-up care – five from the original ten tested positive for heartworm – but, most importantly, they survived Hurricane Florence and are adjusting well to their new environment. They, and many others, were spared because of our wonderful community. You gave us the resources and helped clear space in the shelter so that we could extend a helping hand. And with a natural disaster seemingly always around the corner, that helping hand is needed now more than ever.

Thank you, once again, for helping us to save the most vulnerable.

Sam Wolbert
AWLA President & CEO