Austin Pets Alive!: Disaster Grant
The grant funds were used to help cover intake costs during the initial stages of Austin Pets Alive!’s Hurricane Harvey disaster response. Before the Category 4 storm made landfall, we began calling shelters in Harvey’s predicted path, anticipating that many of them would need to evacuate their animals to other facilities, or be forced to consider mass euthanasia rather than leave helpless pets in structures at risk of being flooded or destroyed. From Aug. 24-25, we transported 220 dogs and cats to safety in Austin from Houston’s BARC and Harris County shelters and the public shelters in Goliad, Aransas County, Aransas Pass, Weslaco, Alice and Edinburg. Each incoming pet had to be vaccinated, tested, microchipped, and given dewormer and flea/heartworm preventatives upon arrival before being placed in foster care or in one of our specialized shelter programs. We also treated any medical issues for those pets that arrived sick, injured or pregnant (of which there were many). Additionally, most of these animals required spay/neuter surgery, which we’ve also provided. This generous disaster grant from the Petfinder Foundation helped pay for intake costs and medical treatment for these 220 pets. For every pet rescued during our ongoing Hurricane Harvey disaster response, we’ve taken on any and all medical costs.
The Petfinder Foundation was one of the first organizations to offer emergency funding to Austin Pets Alive! during what has become one of the largest Hurricane Harvey responses mounted on behalf of dogs and cats. This grant directly benefited 220 pets rescued ahead of the hurricane by supporting necessary intake vetting. Indirectly, the promise of financial support from organizations like the Petfinder Foundation allowed Austin Pets Alive! to focus on saving as many pet lives as possible in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, no matter what it took. To date, we have given safe haven to more than 5,000 dogs and cats, including some 2,000 that came to our facility in Austin (compared to our normal annual intake of around 7,500), plus more than 3,000 pets that we’ve cared for in Houston (so far). We continue to operate a temporary emergency shelter in central Houston in partnership with Houston Pets Alive!, and have plans to support the city’s long-term recovery through 2018.
As Austin Pets Alive! actively rescued dogs and cats to help shelters in Hurricane Harvey’s path clear their kennels ahead of the storm, dozens of orphaned kittens made their way to our facility in Austin, where they would not only be safe from the hurricane, but also receive round-the-clock care in our neonatal kitten nursery. Vinnie (first photo), a weeks-old kitten from BARC (Houston's city shelter), arrived at Austin Pets Alive! shortly before Hurricane Harvey made landfall, along with his four siblings: Versailles, Vermont, Vertigo and Venice.
No longer at risk of euthanasia or drowning during this disaster, these tiny, fragile kittens spent a couple of weeks in our kitten nursery being showered with love as they received specialized care, including bottle-feeding. Vinnie quickly won over staff and volunteers with his constant purring and cuddly nature, and when ready, he moved into a loving foster home with his siblings, where they continued to grow and thrive. Within a few weeks of being rescued, all five of these sweet kittens had found their forever homes. Shortly after his adoption, Vinnie’s new mom reported he was “blending in with his furry [adopted] siblings beautifully and as calmly as expected!”
Vinnie was among the first wave of 220 dogs and cats that Austin Pets Alive! rescued from shelters as they prepared to be hit by this devastating hurricane. This grant helped pay for necessary intake vetting for these 220 animals — including Vinnie and his two brothers and two sisters — which was critical to preventing the spread of disease in our shelter and the first step in preparing these “Harvey” pets for adoption. Austin Pets Alive! couldn’t be more grateful to the Petfinder Foundation for helping us make happy endings like this possible for shelter pets imperiled by Hurricane Harvey.