For the past week and a half, our Rapid Response team and I have been in Florida assisting affected communities with rescue, animal care, and supply delivery in the wake of Hurricane Michael.
I wasn’t prepared for the devastation we would see.
Complete towns were obliterated. Animals were everywhere, needing help. It was very reminiscent of Hurricane Katrina, and likely the “new normal” as a result of climate change.
Last week, while we were delivering supplies and checking in on people in a rural neighborhood, we came across a family who had been without power since the storm. They had been using a generator to power an air conditioner to give their small children relief from the 95 degree heat, but were running dangerously low on fuel.
With little money and nowhere to go, the family had been forced to stay and ride out the storm in their mobile home. Hurricane Michael roared through their town with 150 mph winds, knocking down every tree in its path.
In addition to the generator fuel and bottled water we were able to provide them, the family asked for our help caring for a large group of cats on their property. The adults we saw were skinny from going several days without food. The kittens were in worse shape and absolutely broke my heart. They had upper respiratory infections so bad that their eyes were swollen and crusted shut. It was amazing they were still alive, honestly.
During our time in Florida, we have been lucky to form a partnership with Alaqua Animal Refuge, who generously provided us with a homebase and a safe place to take animals. This kind of partnership is critical during these disasters.
Once we got the sick cats and kittens to Alaqua, we learned that they all had Feline Leukemia (FeLV), a highly-contagious virus that weakens the immune systems of infected cats. Unfortunately, many rescue organizations don’t have the resources necessary to safely care for cats with FeLV and choose to euthanize them instead. At Brother Wolf, we believe all animals deserve a chance to live — even those with special needs — and vowed to keep them all safe.
Our work in Florida is not finished yet. While these sick cats and kittens are headed back to Asheville today to get the lifesaving medical care and treatment they need, I am back out in the field to continue helping the animals.
While the mainstream media continues to minimize the devastation that has occurred as a result of Hurricane Michael, we will continue to work to help those who need us.
Please donate what you can to our Rapid Response fund below. We’d never be able to do this critical work without your support. Thank you for helping us save lives!
For the animals,
Field Operations Manager, Brother Wolf Animal Rescue