Originally published on the Petfinder Blog
By Jane Harrell, Petfinder.com associate producer
Whenever disaster strikes, shelters and rescue groups work to get local families’ pets and the homeless pets in their care to safety. Petfinder.com also reaches out to adoption groups in the affected regions to find out what they need and offer help.
(If you are a Petfinder member and need disaster-related assistance, please email your Petfinder outreach team or learn more about the Petfinder.com Foundation Disaster Fund.)
But everyone can make a difference. Below, we’ve got some simple things you can do to help pets and families in danger after disaster strikes.
How you can help pets impacted by disaster
Organize a pet supply drive: Many adoption groups are in dire need of crates, metal bowls and dishes, clean old towels and blankets, newspaper, pet food and cat litter. If you live close to an affected shelter, call and ask what the group needs, then ask your neighbors or coworkers to donate. (If you take a picture of your donation, post it to our Facebook wall!)
Foster a pet: Notify your local adoption group that you can foster a pet — either one waiting for a home or one whose family has had to temporarily relocate.
Volunteer: Find out if your local shelter needs volunteers to help evacuate, transport or care for pets. You can also offer to be put on a will-call list of people who will help in the case of a shelter evacuation. You may help unload food and supplies, set up temporary shelters, do laundry, walk dogs, feed cats, or just spend some de-stressing playtime with the pets. (If your area hasn’t been affected, you can still prepare for the worst by training as a Disaster Animal Response Team volunteer.)
Spread the word: Write a blog post, share this post on Facebook or tweet about the needs of shelters and rescue groups in the danger zones. Include a shelter’s donation wish list, a link to a place where people can make donations or an adoptable pet who needs a permanent or temporary home.
And remember that, even after the disaster ends, recovery may take much longer. So consider making whatever way you choose to help a long-term project and continue helping pets in need.
A Guide to Disaster Preparedness for Families with Pets