Posts Categorized: Disaster

How You Can Help Shelter Pets by Quilting

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Denny Snuggles.

Denny snuggles on his favorite quilt.

Last year, we worked with pet-loving crafters to get handmade quilts to cats stranded by Hurricane Sandy. Here, Nan Baker, marketing director at The Quilt Pattern Magazine, tells us how this creative and compassionate project developed, and how you can help:

“It all started with Denny. He loved quilts. Although the colors or designs didn’t matter to him, he definitely had his favorites. Put a quilt on a chair, a floor or a shelf and he magically appeared to stake his claim, especially for naps.

“After seeing many pictures of cats on quilts on the Internet, I knew that I was not alone in thinking that cats on quilts make great photos and that they just need to be shared.

“In the fall of 2011, The Quilt Pattern Magazine (TQPM) started our annual Quilt Kitties Photo Contest. Subscribers were urged to send in pictures of their kitties on quilts and given the chance to win some great prizes donated by very generous kitty-loving sponsors! We even had a sponsor kitty – Miss Piggy of Kona Bay Fabrics.

Miss Piggy & Gracie

Sponsor cat Miss Piggy, left, and 2011 Quilt Kitties Photo Contest winner Gracie

“However, because TQPM’s staff are all cat lovers and many have rescue cats, they took it a step further! They wanted to help cats, particularly the less-fortunate kitties who don’t have homes or who end up in shelters. They gave their readers an opportunity to donate to an organization that specializes in helping kitties.

“In the fall of 2012, the same wonderful sponsors, along with some new ones, rejoined TQPM for its second annual Quilt Kitties Photo Contest. TQPM was pleased to announce that the Petfinder Foundation had joined them in promoting this endeavor. Who could have guessed where it would lead?

Quilt Kitties Photo Contest 2012 winner Baby

Quilt Kitties Photo Contest 2012 winner Baby

“Wanting to give their readers a little something extra for their kitties, TQPM was the first to offer free, downloadable patterns for Kennel Quilts. (Find Kennel Quilt patterns here!) These quilts are 12″ x 18″ and are perfect for most cat carriers and cages. The plan was for readers to make one for their own furry friend and another for a local shelter kitty.

Kennel Quilt

Kennel Quilts fit perfectly in cat carriers.

“Then, Hurricane Sandy hit the Northeast and Kennel Quilts took on a whole new meaning. Several of the staff members, knowing firsthand how devastating hurricanes can be for people and their pets, contacted the Petfinder Foundation to offer help.

“Petfinder gave TQPM a list of affected shelters in New York and New Jersey. One shelter, St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center in Madison, NJ, delivered the quilts on a supply truck along with water, pet food and other essentials to people on the Jersey shore. They knew these people had lost everything and that a bright, new quilt for their pets would bring a little bit of joy. Another shelter reported that these donated quilts made everything look very bright and pretty. The volunteers and visitors were all talking about them.

“Because they fit the kitty Kuranda beds, which many shelters use, one shelter asked how we had known to make them the perfect size. As more quilts were delivered, the compliments continued to come in. Shelters were amazed by how many people cared. Strangers, yes; but ones who extended helping hands in times of need. The response was overwhelming, with more than 100 quilts made and sent from the United States, Canada and England. The shelters continue to receive quilts to this day.

Shelter Kitty

A cat at St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center snoozes on his donated quilt.

“As a result of the overwhelming response, TQPM and the Petfinder Foundation decided to make this an ongoing project. Thus, the Small Kennel Quilt Team was formed.

“The TQPM Small Kennel Quilt Team is a volunteer organization that is available to respond when disasters strike. It is a way to join a larger effort in helping our animal friends in times of need by doing what we love. Sign up for the Small Kennel Quilt Team here.

“The team will supply Kennel Quilts to shelters. Free patterns can be downloaded from the TQPM site (download a free quilt pattern here) or you can design your own. TQPM will post members’ progress on the program web page and email updates to them. Members are not obligated to make quilts; they can sign up simply to receive program updates.

Zoey on a quilt.

Zoey the shelter cat has her choice of quilts.

“If you don’t quilt, but want to be a member of the team, you are most welcome. There are other very important ways to help; one is to give a donation to the Petfinder Foundation, which will be greatly appreciated and well-used.

“This new venture is still in the formative stage. As time passes, TQPM and the Petfinder Foundation are sure to find new ways to help shelters and their animals. Join our ‘Passion with a Purr-pose’!”

Many thanks to Nan and all the quilters around the world who are working so hard to offer some comfort and cheer to shelter cats and their caregivers during times of need.

Download Kennel Quilt patterns.

Sign up for the Small Kennel Quilt Team.

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For One Rescue Group, the Petfinder Foundation Is ‘The Angel in the Wake of a Storm’

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Alvin is one of the adoptable pets at H.E.A.L.S. in Lodi, NJ.

When Hurricane Sandy hit the east coast on Oct. 29, 2012, many animal shelters lost power and supplies. One of them was Helping Every Animal Live Society Inc. (H.E.A.L.S.) in Lodi, NJ, which received a $2,500 disaster grant from the Petfinder Foundation. H.E.A.L.S. cofounder Benjamin Ortiz wrote to tell us about the impact the grant had for his organization.

“Days prior to Hurricane Sandy, H.E.A.L.S. had rescued 12 puppies and four adult dogs from a southern shelter that was scheduled to euthanize them on the same day that Sandy was set to make landfall in New Jersey. H.E.A.L.S. knew that this was unfair to these sweet babies and made the decision to save them from a sure death and bring them home.

“We knew the battle to keep the dogs alive was just starting when we saw how intense the storm had become and the condition of the puppies when they arrived at H.E.A.L.S. They had upper respiratory infections along with canine influenza and were immediately treated and prescribed antibiotics and cough medicine. It seemed they had gotten sick during their transportation from the south and the stress of transport made their illness worse — these babies needed a lot of T.L.C.

Flooding outside the H.E.A.L.S. shelter in Lodi, NJ.

“The antibiotics that were prescribed needed refrigeration, as did many of the vaccines we had in stock, so we made sure we had a generator prepared in case we lost power. H.E.A.L.S. prepared as much as possible for the worst, but Hurricane Sandy planned to outsmart us.

“When the storm hit, we lost power within the first hour and flooding began soon after. The generator was knocked off the platform and swept into the nearby river. We immediately filled our coolers with bags of ice that we had bought in case all else failed and put all the medications in the coolers.

“When the storm had passed, the ice in the cooler had melted and the puppies’ condition has shown very little improvement. The medication was no longer refrigerated and no vets or animal hospitals were open due to their own damages and power failures. Sadly, many of the puppies’ got worse. Days passed and still no power; gasoline became a privilege. We struggled to find fuel to transport these animals to Pennsylvania to receive proper medical attention, but it was impossible.

“Finally, after a week, some power was restored and we received notice that a nearby vet was now open for a few hours. We immediately ran there with the puppies. After a full check-up, the vet advised us to hospitalize the puppies because their condition was critical and it was going to take a lot of medical treatment to get them healthy again. The bill for the treatment and the hospital stay, after a discount, would come out to $2,446. We could not afford this enormous bill. But we told the vet that we would have the money and to please treat our babies (we knew that their lives were more important than a bad credit report and there was no way that we were going to let them die).

“I cannot tell you how much stress I was under at that moment. I had no idea how we would raise $2,500 in two days. That night, I went home, opened up my e-mail and saw a message from the Petfinder Foundation. This angel by the name of Toni Morgan had sent us a grant application. I immediately filled it out and prayed that we could get something to cover at least half the vet bill.

“God knew what He was doing, as always, and this angel was at work for him. Within a few days we received an e-mail stating that we were approved for the grant and that the check was in the mail. THIS WAS THE MOST UPLIFTING MOMENT EVER! I immediately printed this e-mail, showed it to the vet and was granted some time to pay the bill. The most incredible thing was that when the checked arrived, it was for $2,500 — just the right amount! The Petfinder Foundation was and still is our ANGEL! THANK YOU for everything! You GUYS ARE AMAZING!”

We are so happy we could help H.E.A.L.S. and its dogs survive the storm and their illness. Thank you to everyone who donated to our Hurricane Sandy relief efforts to make lifesaving grants like this one possible!

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Hurricane Sandy Pets Get Handmade Quilts to Keep them Warm

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A-Rod, a favorite cat at St. Hubert’s, rests on his kennel quilt. He loves to knead the quilt before taking his naps.

In the weeks following Hurricane Sandy, the Petfinder Foundation was contacted by Nan Baker of The Quilt Pattern Magazine with one question: “How can we help?” With an audience who loves quilting, and many shelters in need of blankets to keep their pets warm, there was a clear answer. The Petfinder Foundation provided the names of groups in need of blankets for their pets. With that information, the online magazine asked its subscribers to put their passion to good use by creating small “kennel quilts” for the pets affected by the disaster. (You can see the pattern and the list of shelters who need quilts here.)

How did their audience respond? With more than 60 quilts made and mailed, and more on the way.

St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center in New Jersey said the quilts they received have been a big help to their shelter and the shelters they are assisting.

Grey Joy, a kitten at Pets Alive in New York, tests out his new kennel quilt.

Vice President Nora Parker says, “The quilts are the PERFECT size for the kitty Kuranda beds that we (and many others) use at the shelter, so they work for both the cubbies and around the cattery when the cats are out lounging around.

“We’ve been happy we could send some off to the supply spot at the Jersey Shore. We will send more when we have them as we are keeping that spot stocked for those folks into the new year. The quilts keep coming in! I thought you’d like to know that we’ve just received a package with seven quilts and a sweet note from a lady in ENGLAND!”

The generous readers of The Quilt Pattern Magazine aren’t slowing down, and they expect this to be an ongoing effort. Nan Baker tells us, “We know there will be more occasions where quilts are needed, and we want to be ready to respond when there is a need! The shelters that have received the quilts have been so appreciative. This is one way we can let them know we are so grateful for the work they are doing in taking care of animals in need.”

The Quilt Pattern Magazine has free downloadable patterns on their website for anyone who wishes to contribute to this effort. Get the pattern here. To learn more about the effort, read The Quilt Pattern Magazine’s blog or visit the magazine’s Kennel Quilt page to download the pattern and see a list of shelters in need.

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Sandy Refugee Storm the Dog Gets a Second Chance

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Meet adoptable Dobie/Am Staff mix Storm at Westchester Humane Society in Harrison, NY.

Westchester Humane Society got a disaster grant from the Petfinder Foundation to care for the animals it took in because of Hurricane Sandy. Board member Irma Jansen wrote to us about one of those refugees, a Doberman/American Staffordshire Terrier mix named Storm (pictured above).

Storm with a pal

This is Storm, one of the 18 animals the Westchester Humane Society in Harrison rescued from New York City. Storm came from Staten Island the day before the hurricane hit.

They were evacuating shelters and were overcrowded. In order to help prevent a lot of animals from being euthanized, we rescued a total of 18 dogs and cats.

Storm, named in ‘honor’ of the hurricane, was saved from Sandy and did not seem to care that a week after the hurricane, a snow storm hit our area! It has been quite a week in the NYC area.

She loves the snow, this 2-year-old girl! She is an absolute sweetheart and we are happy we were able to have saved her. Thank you so much for making this rescue possible!

Some of the other shelters and rescue groups receiving disaster grants in Sandy’s wake include:

These puppies, at Tails of Love Animal Rescue in Staten Island, will benefit from a Petfinder Foundation disaster grant.

  • Tails of Love Animal Rescue, Inc., in Staten Island, NY, which lost heat and power and suffered damage to its roof and outdoor kennels, and also needed money for food, blankets, a generator, food bowls (since staff could not wash them without hot water) and cleaning supplies.
  • Seer Farms, Inc., in Jackson, NJ. “We took in over 50 animals in the first weekend after the storm, which is an approximately 10% increase in our population, and we are taking in new animals every day who were either rescued from abandoned homes or brought by their owners who are living in shelters,” says owner Laura Pople. “We lost power for several days and spent several thousand dollars on tree removal.”
  • Abandoned Angels Animal Rescue in Columbus, NJ, which took in pets for people whose homes had flooded and will care for them until their families can find housing for themselves and their pets, or find them new homes if their guardians can’t take them back.
  • Helping Every Animal Live Society, Inc. in Lodi, NJ, which needed to relocate to a safer building. “We lost all or vaccinations and antibiotics that needed refrigeration. The river swept away many of our crates and destroyed pallets of dog food,” says vice president Benjamin Ortiz. “This grant will be used solely to relocate our rescues to a safe and healthy facility.”
  • Animal Rescue R Us, also in Lodi. “We lost crates, bedding, food and supplies due to damage from flood,” says president Christina Chavis. The grant will allow the shelter to replace those items to care for its 20 adoptable pets.

We are able to help these organizations continue their lifesaving work thanks to donors like you. Thank you to all who gave — every little bit helps.

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Hurricane Sandy: We’re Giving $1 Million+ to Help Pets

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Hurricane Sandy has devastated animal shelters in the northeast — but the Petfinder Foundation is getting cash and goods worth more than $1 million to Petfinder shelters and rescues in need. Here are just a few ways we’re helping:

Humane Society of Atlantic County dogs were crammed into tiny cat cages to escape floodwater.

  • We’ve given $18,500 and counting in cash grants to affected shelters, including the Humane Society of Atlantic County in Atlantic City, NJ. The shelter was flooded with seawater a foot deep; large dogs had to be moved into tiny cat cages to escape the rising water; and the organization lost thousands in damaged supplies and equipment. Our grant will help staffers repair the facility and care for local residents’ pets in need of medical aid, food and shelter.
  • Thanks to pharmaceutical giant Boehringer Ingelheim (BI), we’re donating vaccines to shelters and rescue groups that lost medications during the storm (many vaccines need to be refrigerated, so shelters that lost power had to discard theirs). BI will work with the Petfinder Foundation to figure out what vaccines each shelter needs most.
  • DelMonte is donating 1,200 lbs of Nature’s Recipe premium dry cat food to be distributed to organizations in need via a Petfinder Foundation grant.
  • With help from our partners at Wahl, we’re donating grooming supplies and shampoo to shelters that lost theirs due to Hurricane Sandy.
  • True-Dose is donating its Calming supplement to shelters to help relieve anxiety in pets going through the stress of being displaced from their homes, living in an unfamiliar environment and being separated from their families.
  • We’re giving KONGs to shelters that need to replace toys damaged by the hurricane thanks to a donation from our partners at that company.

Still, we need your help. Even the smallest donation makes a difference. Please give today.

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The Petfinder Foundation Helps Victims of Hurricane Sandy

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I think I speak for everyone at the Petfinder Foundation when I say that our thoughts are with everyone affected by Hurricane Sandy. All of us here have been working diligently to provide whatever assistance we can to help pets, and the people who care for them, during this difficult time.

Pets like Doddy at the Humane Society of Atlantic County will be helped by a Disaster grant from the Petfinder Foundation.

For me, awarding grants is one of my favorite parts of my job as Program Manager at the Petfinder Foundation because I know each grant I award is directly helping homeless pets. Most recently we awarded $10,000 to the Humane Society of Atlantic County in Atlantic City, NJ. They were hit extremely hard by Sandy. The shelter had approximately a foot of sea water throughout during the worst part of the storm and because of the flooding they lost a significant amount of medical and shelter supplies, including medications, food, and other items.

In addition to the damage, the Humane Society is also offering assistance to the pets in the community that were affected by the storm in the form of medical care, food and shelter. This is a great example of the role animal shelters play in their local communities. When disaster strikes, shelters not only cope with their own losses, but work overtime to care for the pets of those around them so that people who’ve lost everything can at least know their pets are safe.

Danielle Tustin, Adoption Counselor for HSAC, says, “We are hoping to replenish our medical and shelter supplies, and establish a point where those affected in the community can bring their pets for medical care and any needed supplies. We will need to purchase medications, vaccines, and food, as well as pay doctors and staff to help care for these animals. We anticipate caring for a significant of local animals from the community in the coming weeks as a result of this disaster.”

The Petfinder Foundation is continuing to reach out to and award groups affected by this storm. If you are a group in need of help, please fill out the disaster application here. To help other organizations impacted by Hurricane Sandy please make a donation to the Petfinder Foundation here.

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Petfinder Foundation Helps With Hurricane Sandy

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The Petfinder Foundation has always been concerned with the safety of homeless pets when a disaster hits.  Hurricane Sandy is no exception. Our hearts go out to everyone affected by the Frankenstorm including our fuzzy friends. At this time, the Foundation is preparing to help Petfinder members in a variety of ways, including providing disaster relief grants, assistance with transport of homeless pets to safer areas and providing education and care to those who need it.

Here are some of the ways that we are helping:

The Petfinder Foundation IFAW truck prepares for recovery efforts.

The Petfinder Foundation partnered with International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) to fund a recovery and disaster vehicle. The truck has proven to be helpful in a variety of ways when a storm hits. Often the PFF truck is loaded up with supplies like food, medical equipment and crates to help homeless pets affected by a storm. Once deployed, the truck provides additional assistance by transporting homeless dogs out of the disaster area to a safer environment where they are better able to find forever homes. Currently, the Petfinder Foundation rig is loaded up with boats and water rescue gear in preparation for water support of the devastated areas. The truck is also prepared with sheltering supplies to make sure to address whatever unmet animal needs there might be following the storm.

The Petfinder Foundation partners with National Animal Rescue and Sheltering Coalition (NARSC) to address specific needs when disaster hits. As there is a great need with Hurricane Sandy, we are actively working with our NARSC partners to ensure that proper procedures are followed and that organizations are working as a team to bring the best support to affected shelters and rescue groups.

Hurricanes and other disasters can devastate animal rescue and shelter organizations. The Petfinder Foundation oversees a Disaster Fund to help pets and animal welfare organizations when natural or man-made disaster hits a community. We are currently accepting applications from Petfinder members who were hit by Hurricane Sandy. We have already received several applications and are reaching out to groups to award disaster grants and help them through this troubling time.

As we move forward with recovery efforts, the entire Petfinder Foundation would like to personally thank all the shelter and rescue groups staff and volunteers for their time and effort to help save the lives of homeless pets.

To support the Petfinder Foundation Disaster and other programs, donate here.

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Photos and an Update on Our Hurricane Isaac Pets

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Adoptable dog Karly takes a belly-rub break en route to the Washington Animal Rescue League.

You can help us save animal victims of Hurricane Isaac: Donate to the Petfinder Foundation today and Animal Planet will DOUBLE your gift!

IFAW’s animal rescue–disasters manager Shannon Walajtys reports:

The 29 dogs being transported comfortably in the Petfinder Foundation-IFAW truck

The IFAW team supporting Hancock County Humane Societyin Mississippi is on the road in the Petfinder rig along with 29 dogs. The dogs are routinely monitored and get to stretch their legs several times a day.


The first stop on the IFAW journey north is the Washington Animal Rescue League in Washington, DC, where we’re scheduled to arrive the morning of Sept. 6.

[Right: On a walk break in Georgia while on the road from Bay St. Louis, MS, to D.C., rescue-rig driver Steve, who adopted a one-eyed kitten from the shelter while the truck was in Mississippi, cuddles with an adoptable dog.]


Later that same day, more dogs will disembark at Bucks County SPCA in Lahaska, PA. The rig then heads to Maine where on Friday morning, the last of the Hurricane Isaac dogs will unload at the Greater Androscoggin Humane Society in Auburn.

[Right: IFAW program officer for disaster response Jennifer Gardner takes a dog for a break to stretch his legs in Georgia.]

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VIDEO: Meet the Puppies We’re Rescuing from Hurricane Isaac

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The Petfinder Foundation purchased an animal-rescue truck for our partners at the International Fund for Animal Welfare to save animals in disaster-afflicted regions. The truck is now on its way to the Northeast from Bay St. Louis, MS, transporting adoptable pets from the Hancock County Humane Society to make room for pets whose families had to evacuate the area. (Read our previous post.)

This blog post, by IFAW animal welfare program officer for disaster response Jennifer Gardner, was originally published on ifaw.org (see the original post). Used with permission.

adoptable puppies

Adoptable puppies heading north from Hancock County Humane Society in Mississippi

You can help: Donate to the Petfinder Foundation today and Animal Planet will DOUBLE your gift!

Last night we stopped in Greenville, AL, to rest for the night.

We took the dogs out of our wonderful 36-foot rescue trailer funded by the Petfinder Foundation and all the dogs went for walks and were doing really well after such an eventful day!

Earlier, we left the Hancock County Humane Society (HCHS) after staff and volunteers wished the dogs well on their journey up north.

We loaded 29 dogs and headed to Coast Veterinary Hospital in Gulfport, MS, where Dr. Jackie Broome and her staff quickly went to work spaying or neutering some of the dogs and preparing all of their health certificates for travel.

Before leaving the hospital, Steve, our driver for our rescue rig, fell for a one-eyed kitten and adopted him! He will be traveling with us so he can join his new family in Massachusetts that includes three feline brothers and sisters.

The folks I spoke with in Mississippi all seemed to tell a similar story of how Hurricane Katrina devastated their community, and while there was a coincidence of Hurricane Isaac making landfall on the same date seven years later, they didn’t think its impact would be as great as a Category 1.

No one expected Isaac to stick around for so long and they were surprised at the amount of rainfall. Luckily the new shelter director of HCHS, Toni Necaise, moved the animals out of the shelter before the storm hit as she knew the area was flood-prone.

She made the right choice because, while the shelter didn’t flood, the road to the shelter did. They would not have been able to access the shelter to care for the animals until the water subsided.

Toni only joined HCHS three months ago and I was impressed by her preparedness.

I am so grateful for the rescue groups that allowed us to leave HCHS knowing that the facility was back to normal and they are better prepared for the storm’s aftermath.

All of the dogs are quietly resting as we make our way to the Washington Animal Rescue League in D.C. for our first drop-off.

Thanks to all for the kind words and donations — they keep us going!

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Saving Gulf Coast Pets

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Dogs en route to Northeast shelters in the Petfinder Foundation IFAW truck

Note: If you are a shelter or rescue group impacted by Hurricane Isaac and would like to request funds, click here to apply for a disaster grant from the Petfinder Foundation.

This weekend our partners at the International Foundation for Animal Welfare loaded up their Petfinder Foundation-funded mobile rescue and recovery vehicle and headed down to Hancock County Humane Society in Bay St. Louis, MS, to help save pets displaced by Hurricane Isaac.

As you’ll see in the video above, the shelter needed some repairs made and, more urgently, needed to make room for pets stranded by the storm.

So rescuers loaded up the IFAW truck with 29 adoptable dogs who were already living at the shelter, to open up kennel space for dogs who’d been separated from their families or whose families had been forced to evacuate.

Right now the truck is en route to drop the dogs off with several adoption partners, including:

A volunteer walks a dog to the Petfinder Foundation IFAW rescue truck in Mississippi.

If you want to help us help pets displaced by Hurricane Isaac, donate today — best of all, if you donate through Global Giving, until Oct. 31 Animal Planet will match your gift dollar-for-dollar!

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