The devastating tornadoes that left a path of destruction through the South on Wednesday hit particularly hard in Alabama. The storms killed nearly 300 and wiped out entire neighborhood. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of those who lost so much. It’s almost impossible to wrap your mind around the scope of this tragedy.
As we’ve seen with other recent natural diasters, such as the earthquake and tsunami in Japan in March, animals suffer greatly in these situations, too, and as animal lovers, we want to help. Gwen Cooper, the New York Times bestselling author of Homer’s Odyssey: A Fearless Feline Tale, or How I Learned About Love and Life With a Blind Wonder Cat, wrote a beautiful piece for Psychology Today about the toll these storms have taken on the lives of animals in the affected areas, titled When You Help Animals, You Help Humans.
I’m sure that in the days and weeks to come, animal rescue groups from around the country will mobilize to help the animals in the South, but in the meantime, Gwen has offered up a simple way how you can help. Gwen writes:
“Most of the local veterinary practices in Tuscaloosa have suffered enough damage to be forced to close. One remains open, however–run by Dr. Jimmy Canant and Dr. Paul Bronold.
They have been working literally around the clock–without rest, without breaks, and, most painfully, with barely enough resources–to treat the cats and dogs injured by the tornadoes. Some of the injured animals are brought in by their owners, whose own vets’ offices are non-operational at the moment. But most of the animals being brought in have been separated from their human companions. Nobody knows to whom they “belong,” or who will care for them as they recover, or who will pay for their treatment. Dr. Canant and Dr. Bronold are treating all of them, regardless.
Canant Veterinary Hospital is in desperate need of any support we can provide. They need donations of food and other practical necessities. Most desperately, they need money for medicine and supplies-and money to share with local animal shelters who are also struggling with super-human efforts to make sure that no dog or cat who can be saved is left behind.”
Gwen has created a ChipIn to accept donations. Funds raised will be donated directly to Canant Veterinary Hospital and other local animal service organizations. Click here to donate.
You can also send food or other donations directly Canant Veterinary Hospital at this address:
Canant Veterinary Hospital
1100 Rice Valley Road North
Tuscaloosa, AL 35406
Other ways you can help:
A group of Alabama rescue groups has created a Facebook page, Animals Lost and Found From the Tornadoes in Alabama. The group hopes to help reunite pets displaced by the storms.
The Shelter Pet Project is sending out an appeal to adopt animals in or near the affected areas to create room for pets displaced by the tornadoes. Many shelters have been left without water and power, or outright destroyed. The Shelter Pet Projct is featuring pets from these areas on their Facebook page, with contact information to adopt them. Some rescue groups are offering free transportation to out of area adopters.
May 2 update:
The ASPCA’s Field Investigation and Response Team (FIR) is on the ground in various Southern states and is working around the clock to rescue and shelter animals affected by the disaster.
The Greater Birmingham Humane Society is listing lost pets in hopes of reuniting them with their ownes.
May 6 update:
VCA Animal Hospitals announced that select locations are offering free boarding assistance for cats and dogs whose families have lost homes, or have been evacuated, due to storms in the southeast and wildfires in Texas. Click here for more information.
May 8 update:
Here’s an update on how your donations to Canant Veterinary Hospital are helping tornado victims: Alabama animals displaced by tornadoes are getting outside help from bestselling New York author.
I’ll update this post as more information comes in from other organizations.
Photo source: Homer’s Odyssey Blog on Psychologtoday.com
About the author
Ingrid King is an award-winning author, former veterinary hospital manager, and veterinary journalist who is passionate about cats.