Houston shelter dogs head north after Hurricane Harvey

Houston shelter dogs head north after Hurricane Harvey

Meet Sapphire, the one dog who has been adopted (so far) out of the hurricane pets who came to the Connecticut Humane Society from Houston.

By: Caroline Blevins ’18

Twenty-two Houston dogs were transferred to the Connecticut Humane Society (CHS) in Newington after Hurricane Harvey hit the city. The dogs traveled north in a large trailer provided by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. They arrived at the CHS Labor Day evening. The transportation of the dogs from Texas to Connecticut allowed more room in the Houston shelters for the accommodation of pets who were separated from their families during Harvey. Once families recover from the storm, they will be able to go to the Houston Humane Society to reunite with their pets.   

At this time, the CHS is welcoming all sorts of donations and volunteer opportunities. Dimitra Ippolito ’18 is a member of the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and considers herself a frequent donor to the CHS. “For me, it’s not all about the donations,” Ippolito ’18 said. “It’s more to stay educated and updated about the animal cruelty that does occur in this world. Not only does my membership increase my awareness, but it also gives me the ability to spread my knowledge and take action.” Online, there is a fundraiser to help support the care for the dogs and to fund two of their trips to Houston. The two trips were both to Texas, where teams helped shelters that were affected by the hurricane. One team left early on Sunday, Sept. 3, and the other deployed on Tuesday, Sept. 12.

“I think the Humane Society’s involvement in Houston is a wonderful thing. At the end of the day, animals are living, breathing animals just like us humans. They are lives that also need to be attended to,” Ippolito said. Even though the trips have already been funded, a donation can still be made and will go towards medical care for the shelter animals.

According to CHS’s Marketing and Communications Manager, Susan Wollschlager, most of the dogs are being treated for either coughing or parasites. Others need to be spayed or neutered. Currently, the veterinarians are supplying ongoing checkups with the animals. Once they are cleared by the medical department, they will be up for adoption. So far, out of the 22 dogs, only one has been adopted. Her name is Sapphire and she recently went home with her new family. The remaining 21 dogs can be found on the CHS website, where every animal available for adoption can be seen.

While funds and adoptions are always appreciated at the CHS, it is not the only way to get involved. “We frequently have students who make braided dog toys or cat beds to donate, collect supplies and pet food for us, or have their own fundraisers for us,” Wollschlager said. All of those ideas and craft instructions are also provided on the CHS volunteer website.

Another way to get involved with Hurricane Harvey relief is right on campus at Staples. The Staples girls’ volleyball team, made their annual charity game a fundraiser for hurricane Harvey and Irma. Trinity Catholic and Staples fans combined to raise $1,100, and all of it was donated to the American Red Cross. Carlie Darefsky, a volleyball captain, recommends that other teams and clubs get involved too, whether they donate to the Humane Society, American Red Cross or another association.

“Here we are stressing about grades and college applications while there are students in Texas and Florida who are staying in unstable shelters wondering if any of their personal belongings survived the storm. It’s important to put our issues in perspective and show our compassion by getting involved with hurricane relief,” Darefsky ’18 said. Darefsky concluded with high hopes that other teams and clubs would follow their lead by raising money to aid hurricane-affected areas.