Disaster Response, Sandy, and Good People

It’s been a rough week, right? I think everyone can pretty much agree with that. There has been an awful lot of awful going on.

That being said, it’s also been an earth-shattering shake-by-the-shoulders to everyone mired in the mud leading up to Tuesday’s election that maybe it isn’t the only thing in the world that matters. Oh yeah, there’s an election tomorrow! I almost forgot. Amazing how quickly things become less important when people’s lives are getting washed away on a large scale.

You can view the world in one of two ways. It’s your choice. You can choose to believe that people are good, or people are bad. Yes, there is a bit of range in this rather simplistic worldview, but I’m saying that you have a choice in your overall belief about the way humanity functions, and it’s been my experience that whatever side you choose, you end up noticing those aspects of life that fulfill your expectations a whole lot more. You can focus on and obsess over whatever facets of human nature you want, but I will tell you- and this is coming from a pretty dyed in the wool cynic- I have, despite all my expectations, come to realize that people are actually pretty good, given the choice.

Today I watched NYC marathoners run into Staten Island and spend the day cleaning the yards of those people who normally cheer them on. People sitting in the middle of the street with grills, sharing food with neighbors, and strangers. People who, given a choice, will choose to do right by their fellow man.

And by their fellow animal.

The Animal Disaster Response

Did you know that the staff at Animal Medical Center, one of the most renowned specialty veterinary hospitals in the world, stayed open through the entire hurricane despite being flooded with a foot of water? Same goes for the Humane Society of Atlantic County, whose executive director Steve Dash stayed with the animals through the entire storm, after relocating them to the second floor while the shelter flooded. They’re in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Those are some brave people, through and through.

People are good. I believe this.

The morning after the hurricane made landfall, I got an email from Julie Franklin, who is part of the P&G Pet Care team and coordinates their disaster response efforts. It was a simple email: “How can I help?” P&G Pet Care made an incredibly generous offer of a semi truck (38 pallets!) worth of food donation for a World Vets partner facility in addition to other donations they were going to be making.

I spent the next 36 hours in rapid fire communications with Julie and Drs Cathy King and Sarah Seitz at World Vets, who, when the hurricane hit, were in the middle of packing for the inaugural Disaster Response Training session in Granada that I’m attending next week. Ironic, I know. But this is how it always happens.

Those three women, as far as I can tell, skipped sleep for about three days in favor of making phone call after phone call, tracking people down in disaster zones, and arranging the incredibly complicated logistics of getting important supplies to where they need to go when the people you need to communicate with are without phone lines or power. It’s a TON of work. It was so much work, in fact, that I was sure at any minute one of them would just say, “You know, I just don’t see this working out this time, but next time, OK?”

But they didn’t. And here is what came out of that:

  • P&G Pet Care (IAMS, Eukanuba, and Natura pet food brands) will be donating more than 88 tons of pet food to help feed the animals displaced by Hurricane Sandy. They are partnering with multiple animal welfare organizations to distribute  pet food to the animals affected in the NYC/NJ areas. These organizations are: World Vets, Feeding America, Mayor’s Animal Alliance of NYC, ASPCA, Bideawee, and the Humane Society of Atlantic County NJ.

P&G Pet Care (maker of Iams, Eukanuba and Natura) donated 88 tons of pet food to affected regions in New York and New Jersey.

Julie had to figure out how to get semis full of pet food into Manhattan in the middle of this transportation nightmare. I can’t imagine how she did it, but she did it. And she also got a semi to our friends at the aforementioned Humane Society of Atlantic County, and they in turn distributed it to the community over the weekend- as you can see in the picture above.
  • World Vets, though a grant from Abbott and donations from the Vetericyn company, donated $20,000 worth of veterinary supplies directly to clinics in affected areas, to help local veterinarians in the treatment of animals affected by Hurricane Sandy. I couldn’t be more proud to be a member of this organization and support their work.

World Vets, through a grant from Abbott, donated $20,000 worth of supplies to victims of Hurricane Sandy

My good friend and longtime pawcurious supporter Annette Frey from Biscuits by Lambchop told me, after all of this had been arranged, that she adopted her dog Starr from the Humane Society of Atlantic County. She confirmed that they are an excellent recipient: “We have always been a big supporter of The Atlantic County Humane Society, not just because they rescued our girl Starr, but they work tirelessly and selflessly not only to find homes for their charges, but to make their lives good while they are with there,” she siad.  “I have personally seen how careful they are to find the right home for their rescues, not just any home.  Now, even while they are in recovery mode themselves after being in the eye of the storm and being very hard hit, they are there for their community!  They just never stop to lick their own wounds!”

These are just a few examples of good people being good. I know there are many more. I am constantly in awe of how my friends and colleagues in the pet community  band together to help those in need, time and time again. I am so honored to count these wonderful people among my friends. If you have any stories to share, I’d love to hear them!
Filed: Be The Change, Blog, Musings Tagged: , , , , , ,
  • No story to tell, but thank you for telling this one. Right now, with everything that has gone on in the last week (and previous months with the elections), it is wonderful to see Americans pulling together instead of ripping each other apart. What a balm for the soul.

  • Really, this gave me goosebumps of emotional happiness!

  • Susi

    I’m pretty sure you’ve reached the third tier of heaven. The first tier is just clouds and crap. The second tier comes with an open bar. The THIRD tier has a dance floor and Travolta is around to teach some moves. The fourth tier is when Travolta is replace by Clive Owen,

    • Oooh, how do I get to that level? Stopping a moving train?

  • Cathey

    Thanks you so much for posting this story – I’m reading late, but this morning I really need it. I agree with Michelle, what a balm for the soul. And thanks for your part in the coordination – I know you have the wonderful resource of ‘network’ and in this case I’m sure it has made all the difference in making this possible – Good Dog!!

  • Tamara

    People stepping up is always a heartwarming story 🙂 Thanks!

  • A Noun You Missed

    Nice to see the better side of humanity for once; the news tends to show the bad side almost exclusively. These people should all be proud of what they did, and we should be thankful for their contributions! Good job representing humanity!