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On the Ground in Texas After Hurricane Harvey

After Hurricane Harvey hit Texas, lives were lost, homes were destroyed, families were separated. It was a devastating event. One group who was left with few options was: shelter dogs.

(Source: Kevin Miller, Facebook)

Dogs who were in animal shelters prior to the storm were left with fewer chances of getting adopted, additionally the space in shelters was needed for displaced and newly-rescued dogs to find housing. 

Foster Dogs Inc assisted several local rescue organizations in finding foster homes for some of these Texas shelter dogs: Muddy Paws, Louie’s Legacy, Shaggy Dog Rescue, Twenty Paws Rescue, Hearts & Bones, and more. We reached out to our Foster Roster database of applicants: 300 people, to be exact. Their response was both overwhelming and heartwarming. Many dogs found foster homes and adopters through our networking, and are living the good life here in NYC, safe and sound. One of our volunteers: Sam, joined rescue group Muddy Paws in saving numerous animals just in the nick of time!


Written by Sam Cheirif, Foster Dogs volunteer and NYC-area foster mom and rescue advocate.

I’ve been trying to sit down and write a recap of this week and it’s just hard to even capture it all. Here’s just a summary.

Eric and I were on a planned vacation to Austin, TX when we found out that some members of Muddy Paws Rescue were arriving to try to get animals on a plane back to NYC. We joined up to help, at my insistence, and (my boyfriend) Eric good-naturedly (as always) gave up the last 2 days of his vacation to help haul crates and temperament test-dogs.

[Sam’s Facebook Live video, on-site at Austin Pets Alive]

Foster a Desperate Shelter Dog from Texas

Live at Austin Pets Alive doing #hurricaneharvey relief!For those who can't hear in the video, we have a Foster Dogs Inc volunteer in Texas, as FDI is helping out with a massive transport of dogs from TX to the NYC area. These are not displaced dogs, but owner surrenders and dogs from local shelters. We're trying to clear them out so that there will be room for displaced dogs to wait to be reunited with their owners. Many groups will be waiting to receive dogs, including Muddy Paws Rescue NYC, PupStarz Rescue, Louie's Legacy Animal Rescue, and other NY/NJ shelters. If you'd like to help, consider filling out a foster application with one of those rescues, or donate money to purchase supplies to them or to us!Best Friends Animal Society

Posted by Foster Dogs, Inc. on Saturday, September 2, 2017

At the last minute, it turned out that the plane wasn’t going to happen. I extended my trip, called off work, and we went to Dallas to try to secure ground transport for as many animals as we could. The time we spent in Dallas was exhilarating, heartbreaking, and reaffirming.

There I met someone whose path I hope to cross again many times- Whitney Fang is a true angel among humans, as is her husband Kevin who reminds me of Eric in so many ways. We have this compelling drive to rescue, and our partners are the unsung heroes of this situation. They are the rocks we couldn’t do this without.

We spent all night trying to figure out how to get health certificates on 80 animals done in six hours. We spent the next day running through the shelter, grabbing as many animals as we could get medically cleared and who could fit in the available crate space. We figured we could fit 75-80 animals.

We left at the absolute last minute with 87.

87 dogs and cats to be transferred to 4 different rescues in NYC, and 100+ animals to a rescue partner going to Ohio from Houston. That’s approximately 200 animals who probably wouldn’t have otherwise made it out.

I am exhausted, and it hasn’t stopped- it’s been nonstop paperwork, foster coordinating, checking in, etc. But every time I feel overwhelmed, I think about my amazing rescue community who I am so glad to know. Thank you for everything you do.


Editor’s Update: Many of Muddy Paws’ nearly-thirty dogs from Texas have found their forever homes in the week since their arrival! To view the list of currently available dogs, visit Muddy Paws. Another amazing note:  the three Texas rescue dogs from Sam’s mission were all adopted at our Bissell event last Saturday September 16th! DONATE to Foster Dogs Inc to support our efforts in placing shelter dogs into foster homes!

Main image credit: Getty
Article images: Sam Cheirif & Muddy Paws Rescue
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