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Karina Holosko
Dog's Life: Humane
Hurricane Irma: Helping Small Local Dog Rescue Groups
Highlands County, Florida Humane Society

Small rescue groups tend to be overlooked by larger rescue groups when it comes to disaster relief.  After the Florida Keys, Highlands County was hit the hardest by Hurricane Irma and declared a Disaster Zone. Our staff is exhausted, our dogs are traumatized, we just got water and air-conditioning but at least our little St. Francis statue is still standing!

We are working at full capacity (75 dogs and 50 cats) and cannot intake anymore animals. Our biggest wish is to get these dogs to forever homes.

When a dog enters the shelter, our challenge is to remind them that they are good dogs and did nothing wrong. The shock of Irma hurt, and without our regular volunteers it’s difficult to tend to their emotional needs. Our solution?  We have enlisted the puppies to work with the older dogs and they are doing an excellent job. Who can’t be cheered up by a wee one?

What we did not count on were the hoarders. Just last week we found a home with over a hundred cats. We did not expect the intakes from the flooded puppy mills hidden in the back roads. We are finding cages of dogs stuck in the mud. Some of these dogs had been purposely blinded so they could not run away.  We worked with the Sherriff’s Office to locate the people who runs these operations and can now shut them down.

We have also found dogs tied to fences and cars, their backs and legs broken from the storm.  Many people panicked could not take their animals with them and tied them up instead of letting them take their chances. 

We are performing emergency triage on many animals, working hard to rescue dogs in need and find forever homes for the pets in our shelter but we can’t do it alone.

How can you help?

1. We have created an Amazon Wishlist for Highlands Animal Control:  This will help all the shelters in the area. 

2. There is also a Go-Fund-Me that will be used to deliver food to local residents. 

Dog's Life: Humane
How To Be A Shelter Santa

As the year winds down and holiday celebrations speed up, dogophiles often look for ways to do something extra for animal shelters. Bark reader Karina Holosko, writer and “boots-on-the-ground activist for shelter dogs,” recently wrote to us with an inspired approach that can be put into practice immediately or rolled out at any point in the year. Her tips follow, plus one of our own.

FIND A SHELTER
Choose a state and google “animal control”; follow up by visiting the websites of city-run facilities, many of which are overloaded and understaffed. You can identify those with the greatest need by the length of their “How You Can Help” section. Settle on one whose work you’d like to support.

GET IN TOUCH
Contact the shelter supervisor and make a friend. Ask about the shelter’s weekly intake numbers. Be diplomatic and thoughtful—you’re entering someone else’s territory (no one wants an uninvited outsider telling them what to do). Be clear that you understand the very difficult situations the shelter faces every day, and that you and your community would like to help.

MAKE A LIST
Work with the shelter to create an Amazon wish list, which makes it easy for all donations to go directly to the shelter.

CREATE A CARD
Create a business card (you can get 500 for $20 or so) with the shelter’s name and website, and the link to the Amazon wish list. Then, go out into your neighborhood and spread the word (and the card). Holosko describes stopping strangers walking their dogs in her Upper East Side NYC neighborhood, handing them a card and describing the needs of dogs in her chosen shelter.

THROW IN THE TOWEL(S)
Your local shelter may also welcome this help, and they will definitely welcome donations of towels. They can never have enough of these versatile articles. Among the ways they’re used: to cozy up a cage; as a “towel cowl” to safely and gently handle small, nervous dogs; to move a dog from a surgical table, to block drafts, for kennel privacy and—of course—as after-bath aids, keeping wet dogs warm as they dry off.*

MAKE A DIFFERENCE
Holosko tells us that last year, she selected a shelter in Rutherford, Tenn. Though it’s in a small county (pop. 200,000), the shelter was receiving 60 animals a day and needed everything from food bowls, blankets and leashes to bleach to clean the cages. Her outreach was successful, and, as she says, “It was a morale-booster to the staff; they took the opportunity to start a newsletter, organize the first Easter egg hunt and begin actively educating the community on the benefits of spay and neuter!”

*From the ASPCApro blog and Greenville County Animal Care, Greenville, S.C.

Dog's Life: Humane
How To Be A Shelter Santa

As the year winds down and holiday celebrations speed up, dogophiles often look for ways to do something extra for animal shelters. Bark reader Karina Holosko, writer and “boots-on-the-ground activist for shelter dogs,” recently wrote to us with an inspired approach that can be put into practice immediately or rolled out at any point in the year. Her tips follow, plus one of our own.

FIND A SHELTER
Choose a state and google “animal control”; follow up by visiting the websites of city-run facilities, many of which are overloaded and understaffed. You can identify those with the greatest need by the length of their “How You Can Help” section. Settle on one whose work you’d like to support.

GET IN TOUCH
Contact the shelter supervisor and make a friend. Ask about the shelter’s weekly intake numbers. Be diplomatic and thoughtful—you’re entering someone else’s territory (no one wants an uninvited outsider telling them what to do). Be clear that you understand the very difficult situations the shelter faces every day, and that you and your community would like to help.

MAKE A LIST
Work with the shelter to create an Amazon wish list, which makes it easy for all donations to go directly to the shelter.

CREATE A CARD
Create a business card (you can get 500 for $20 or so) with the shelter’s name and website, and the link to the Amazon wish list. Then, go out into your neighborhood and spread the word (and the card). Holosko describes stopping strangers walking their dogs in her Upper East Side NYC neighborhood, handing them a card and describing the needs of dogs in her chosen shelter.

THROW IN THE TOWEL(S)
Your local shelter may also welcome this help, and they will definitely welcome donations of towels. They can never have enough of these versatile articles. Among the ways they’re used: to cozy up a cage; as a “towel cowl” to safely and gently handle small, nervous dogs; to move a dog from a surgical table, to block drafts, for kennel privacy and—of course—as after-bath aids, keeping wet dogs warm as they dry off.*

MAKE A DIFFERENCE
Holosko tells us that last year, she selected a shelter in Rutherford, Tenn. Though it’s in a small county (pop. 200,000), the shelter was receiving 60 animals a day and needed everything from food bowls, blankets and leashes to bleach to clean the cages. Her outreach was successful, and, as she says, “It was a morale-booster to the staff; they took the opportunity to start a newsletter, organize the first Easter egg hunt and begin actively educating the community on the benefits of spay and neuter!”

*From the ASPCApro blog and Greenville County Animal Care, Greenville, S.C.