Caring for pets after the storm
Published: December 2, 2012
In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, not just people, but pets were displaced.
And a Granville Summit woman was among those who went to hurricane-ravaged New York, and came to the aid of some four-legged friends.
Emily Blade, 21, along with two other staff members from the Animal Care Sanctuary in East Smithfield, were volunteering with the emergency shelter of the Humane Society of the United States and the North Shore Animal League, located at Garden City, N.Y.
Blade is the assistant supervisor in the cattery at Animal Care Sanctuary. Julie Kingsley, the business manager at the sanctuary, and Jesse Newell, the maintenance coordinator from the sanctuary, went with her.
According to Blade, the animals were mostly people’s pets — dogs and cats as well as a few guinea pigs, ferrets, turtles, birds and rabbits. The animals were housed at the shelter while their owners were getting their lives back together following the storm. Many of those owners had been displaced from their homes.
“It was basically so they didn’t have to worry about taking care of their pet while they were trying” to recover from storm, she said.
Blade and the others cared for the animals at the shelter for three days, Nov. 8-10.
“Most of them (the pets) were pretty good because they were found by people, most of them were healthy,” she said.
She noted that the work was exhausting at times, because they were working 12-hour days. They fed the pets, cleaned the kennels, walked the dogs, and performed other duties.
“I was happy to be part of such an extraordinary effort,” Kingsley said. “Seeing people come together in a tragic time to support people and their pets was extremely moving.”
Blade recalled one case in which a pit bull terrier named Blue was brought in, but he was so uncomfortable with the situation that he refused to come out of his crate for a day.
“He wouldn’t let anyone take him out or let anyone near his crate,” she said. “Julie worked with him, let him see we weren’t going to hurt him.” She said the dog allowed them to handle him by the time they left.
“He was really scared, being in a new situation with animals he didn’t know and people he didn’t know.”
She said most of the animals were claimed by their owners.
Blade said they saw some damage from the storm.
“We weaved our way through dumpsters and saw wires down,” she said.
Meanwhile, she is enjoying her job at the sanctuary.
She graduated in May with a B.S. degree in animal sciences from Penn State University.
At the sanctuary, her job involves providing medical care for the cats by supplementing the work of the veterinarian team and her supervisor. She also provides daily care for the cats, when needed. She began her job at the sanctuary following graduation.
“It’s good,” she said of her job. “I think that we’re making a difference in the lives of a lot of animals, which is always a good thing to experience.”
Eric Hrin can be reached at (570) 297-5251; email: firstname.lastname@example.org