The effects of Hurricane Harvey were devastating, and the city of Houston will take many years to recover from the catastrophic flooding that most are calling an “800-year flood”. Thousands of people have had their homes completely destroyed, and other Texas cities are expected to receive refugees. However, it is not just people who were affected: thousands of animals in shelters are going to have to move cities as well. Animals are considered to be family members in many households, and it is necessary to help them as much as possible.
According to this CBS News story in San Antonio updated just yesterday, San Antonio Animal Care Services is teaming up the local humane society to provide emergency shelter for animals affected by the storm. As of Tuesday, the 29th, 231 animals have already been brought in, and not just dogs and cats: they have even taken in a gerbil named Rufus. Even with emergency resources, San Antonio cannot shoulder the entire burden. Wings of Rescue is helping transport pets to shelters all over the country, to Maryland, Washington D.C., and even all the way to Oregon and Washington state. 169 dogs and 122 cats are on their way to Austin, and Austin Pets Alive is expecting to bring in over 1,000 rescued animals by the end of the week. Rescuing as many animals as possible is a huge priority, as shelters are determined to not have a repeat of hurricane Katrina, which stranded or killed over 600,000 animals.
Many millennials are choosing to own pets instead of having children, and it is easy to see why. Cats and dogs cost much less to keep, and they can become just as much a part of the family as another human. Pets require a huge time commitment (especially dogs), and many young people who are working hard every day to support themselves are short on time. However, many companies and startups are popping up to help, like Walk!ATX, a dog walking service available in Austin, the fastest growing city in the United States. With all of these resources for pet parents, more and more people are able to experience the joy of living with a furry friend. All of the refugee animals from Houston will hopefully go to good homes.
Before the hurricane struck land, many shelters across Texas called for foster parents to house animals in order to clear the shelters for refugees from Houston. If you have been considering adopting a dog or a cat and you live in the central Texas area, now is the time to do it. There are hundreds of displaced animals that just want a loving, forever home. If you do not have the time or resources to donate directly to charities that are helping Houstonians, and if you cannot bear the responsibility of pet ownership, you can help these displaced pets by donating food and bedding to your local animal shelter.