We were on the job!
We knew longtime dolphin rescuer and advocate Rick Trout, of Tavernier in the Florida Keys, would be among our most valuable sources as Hurricane Irma roared in after devastating the Caribbean. Living in a house built as a storm shelter after the Category 5 hurricane of 1935, Trout sheltered neighbors and their pets through Irma, and kept the world posted about what he saw.
“Thanks for big picture views”
But we didn’t see these words coming, that Trout posted to Facebook even as tidal surges cut him and his family off from the mainland, and high winds blew down the power lines and closed the animal shelters serving 70% of Florida:
Thanks for big picture views of these events from NOAA, our free press & folks like Animals 24-7 for communicating when victims can’t. Bless you all for your caring to cover these heart wrenching events & encouraging recovery.”
Trout’s testimonial came a few days after another of our readers, a longtime animal shelter director, posted this as a comment on our coverage of Hurricane Harvey, which hit Texas just under two weeks before Hurricane Irma hit Florida:
“The information I was looking for”
“Among my first reactions was intense concern for the animal victims. I immediately went to Animals 24-7 to find information on how that donation would be most effective. I checked in daily while Merritt and Beth gathered the FACTS. Animals 24-7 coverage provided the information I was looking for, and I was so relieved to learn of the heroic work being done.
“But I was struck by the lack of mention of the around-the-clock research that went on at Animals 24-7, or the likely sacrifice of sleep and normal routine by Merritt and Beth during these crises.
“That’s when I realized how important it is that Animals 24-7 be there for the next disaster.
“Kept donor dollars from being wasted”
“As the only source I found of such information, their guidance kept donor dollars from being wasted, allowing countless more animals to receive actual help. I’m making a donation to Animals 24-7 for this invaluable reporting and urge other readers to do so.”
The sacrifice of sleep alone during the recent disasters amounted to many nights’ worth.
Aid to animals must be delivered by human hands
Understandably, most Animals 24-7 readers want their donations to disaster relief to go directly toward helping animals. But reality is that aid to animals in a crisis must be delivered by human hands. Unfortunately, not all the human hands reaching out to grab donations after a disaster are equally dedicated, competent, well-prepared and positioned, or honest about what they do with your money once they get it.
ANIMALS 24-7 helps you sort out the difference between the people and organizations who are there in the mud and rubble, actually helping the victims, and those who just recycle photos––or worse, throw a bucket of water over a dog, then pick the dog up and pose, as we suspect some of the post-Harvey, post-Irma, and post-Maria scammers have done. (We run image searches every day to authenticate the origins of photos used in appeals and posted to web sites.)
Tidal surge of appeals
The tidal surge of appeals inundating people who care about animals in the wake of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma may by now seem as overpowering as the waves and the rains that flooded Texas and Florida.
But ANIMALS 24-7 desperately needs money too. We held off sending a scheduled appeal at the height of the Harvey, Irma, and Maria disasters, to avoid competing with the animal charities in crisis, and now have next to nothing with which to pay our bills. But we have no emotive photos to send of ourselves in muddy boots carrying dogs and cats.
Our work helps
Collecting, sorting, verifying, writing up, and posting current information night and day is not heroic, or dramatic. We spend most of our time during a crisis looking at electronic screens, hoping to find just a few minutes during each long day to get outdoors.
You can take it from the folks in the fields-turned-swamps, though, that our work helps them––and often translates into material aid for the animals they rescue.
For example, it was ANIMALS 24-7 reportage that inspired Network for Animals founder Brian Davies (who much earlier founded and then left the International Fund for Animal Welfare) to send nearly $60,000, in installments, to the Houston SPCA, the flagship shelter for the post-Harvey rescue and recovery effort.
We’re meanwhile happy just to find a few donations in our mailbox. Every dollar you can spare for us will be deeply appreciated, and will be used most carefully, appreciatively, and above all, effectively, helping animals in our own unique way.
P.S.––Thank you!!! for your donation for $50, $100, $250, $500, $1,000 or more, or any amount you can manage to help ANIMALS 24-7 keep on “communicating when victims can’t.” And yes, with your generous help, we will be here, on the job, when more storms hit.