HSI rescuers bring help and hope to animals in hurricane-battered Bahamas

Adam Parascandola, HSI’s senior director for animal protection and crisis response, found this sweet dog amidst the rubble of a house, along with four other dogs whose owner couldn’t get to them after the hurricane and asked for help. Photo by HSI

Humane Society International responders are now on the ground in the Bahamas to rescue animals and reunite them with their families, following the devastation caused by Hurricane Dorian.

Our team has spent three days on Abaco island, which was the hardest hit on the archipelago. They are combing the streets and climbing through mountains of debris, looking for animals who survived the storm, including homeless animals and those left behind during evacuation.

Kelly Donithan, senior specialist for disaster operations, says the devastation in Abaco is overwhelming. “Walking through the remnants of people’s lives is heartbreaking; soccer balls and teddy bears, dishes still with bits of rice floating and novels with weather pages flapping in the wind are stark reminders of those who once lived here,” she wrote.

But amidst this devastation, our work is bringing hope and touching individual lives. Adam Parascandola, HSI’s senior director for animal protection and crisis response, tells me about this sweet dog whom he found amidst the rubble of a house, along with four other dogs whose owner couldn’t get to them after the hurricane and asked for help. The dog was extremely emaciated, his skin ravaged by mange, and he had collapsed in the rubble.

Knowing there was no time to lose, Adam and the team swiftly drove the dog to their makeshift shelter where staff provided food and TLC. There appeared to be little hope, but the next morning, Adam tells me, they woke up to find the dog awake and greeting them with tail wags. He is now on his way to receive additional veterinary care.

Our services are also bringing some much-needed comfort to members of human rescue and response teams. Many of them have been coming over to our base each day to walk and snuggle with the dogs, as they seek to relieve the stress of the difficult experiences they face each day in the field, Kelly told me.

Our work in the Bahamas will continue, assisting the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), a founding member of the Dorian Animal Relief Coalition, and local organizations on the ground there. If you live in Abaco and were separated from your pet, please send an email with a picture and detailed description of the animal to [email protected], which is managed by the coalition. And as more animals are rescued each day, please continue to check in by email, or text us on WhatsApp at 242-427-7729.

We also need help from our global supporters so we can continue to prepare staff members to respond whenever animals are at risk. Your gift supports our lifesaving work to protect animals affected by natural disasters such as earthquakes, fires or tsunamis and those suffering at the hands of humans in situations like dog meat farms, hoarding and animal fighting rings, so please donate to HSI’s Animal Rescue Fund.

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