By Christy Counts, President/Founder
On the afternoon of May 20th, we all watched with horror as the F-5 tornado swept the ground and engulfed the City of Moore. We were all glued to the television in a very surreal moment when it became evident the damage would be massive. In that moment I wondered to myself how we at OK Humane could be prepared to respond to a disaster of this magnitude with only six short years of existence under our belt.
That evening our staff jumped into action launching our first ever disaster response. We immediately put out a call for help to our foster parents to empty the Homeward Bound Quarantine Facility of current program animals. We needed our building to be empty and dedicated to fulfilling the needs of the tornado animals. That night we literally had fosters picking up dogs while tornado victims arrived from the triage simultaneously. Our amazing foster parents enthusiastically responded; and by the middle of the night every single last dog and puppy was out of the building enabling our staff to focus 100% on the disaster response. When the victims started arriving, our staff was prepared. It was the beginning of a very long couple of weeks in which the OK Humane staff and volunteers absolutely rose to the challenge.
We took in 151 dogs and cats, and have since reunited 87 of them with their families. I have never witnessed such an incredible show of teamwork, mutual support, efficiency and raw passion that took place in that first week. OK Humane prides itself on practicing the highest of standards when it comes to policies, procedures and protocols. It certainly showed in the quality of our disaster response as there is very little that we would have done differently.
We certainly could have not had such an efficient and positive response without the help of our partner the ASPCA®. The ASPCA® deployed their disaster response team to assist us along with Code 3, IFAW, and Red Rover. In addition, SAWA jumped in to help by facilitating some wonderful volunteers from the Oregon Humane Society. Together, everyone made the response smooth and successful. In addition, our amazing donors stepped up and provided an endless supply of supplies and monetary donations to care for the victims. The outpouring of support has been amazing and certainly inspiring.
I believe I can speak for our entire team when I say that some of the moments I experienced during this disaster recovery were some of the highlights of my career. Witnessing the amazing reunions of human victims with their pets brought tears to all of our eyes each and every time. To be able to bring comfort to families in such a tragic time is unbelievably heartwarming.
The vast majority of the pets we recovered from the Moore tornado were clearly well-loved family pets. Thank you to the City of Moore for being a wonderful pet loving community. We are honored we could help reunite your families!
Get in the holiday spirit this season with a gift of compassion This year, give a holiday gift that shows you care by making a donation to the Central Oklahoma Humane Society. By making a gift in honor of a beloved family member, friend or pet, your gift will go directly towards helping Oklahoma City’s [...]