Every year, parts of the United States experience hurricane season. Some regions may only get a bit of rain, while others may be decimated by storms like hurricane Earl and hurricane Danielle. The really scary part is that nobody knows for sure just how a storm is going to behave until it hits. Even tropical storms can wipe out entire towns, causing thousands to lose their homes.
The state and federal governments have aid agencies, like FEMA, whose jobs it is to respond when natural disasters strike. These aid agencies help get people out of harm's way. They also provide shelter for those who have lost their homes by setting up temporary shelters in schools and stadiums nearby. Disaster relief agencies also provide food, water, and other necessities to displaced persons. But animals are often not allowed at these shelters. Many people who have lived through a natural disaster find themselves in the sad position of having to make very difficult decisions about their pets. It's enough that they've lost their homes; they shouldn't have to lose their beloved companion animals as well.
Enter the Humane Society of the United States. When natural disasters strike, the Humane Society rides in along with the other aid agencies. The Humane Society provides rescue teams who are trained in saving animals from dangerous situations. Many dogs and cats who live through hurricanes find themselves stranded on the roofs of their homes, rightly afraid to jump into the flood waters. Still others attempt to swim to safety only to find that the distance is too great and the water currents are too strong. Humane Society employees and volunteers go out in boats and rescue these stranded animals.
They also set up temporary shelters for the animals, much in the same way FEMA runs shelters for people. The rescued animals are taken these emergency shelters where they receive veterinary care, and food and water. They often each get a pen with a puppy training pad in cases they need to relief themselves in between walks. If the temporary shelter is very crowded, animals who get along might share a large pen, cage, or kennel with multiple puppy training pads for convenience and comfort. These animals have been through extreme trauma and cannot always control their bladders. Even cats often have puppy training pads in their cages, in case of accidents.
These makeshift shelters are hubs of activity. With animals coming in, both from being rescued and by owners who cannot take their pets to the human shelters with them, and the large task of trying to reunite lost animals with their people, these shelters are chaotic and loud. But through it all, the Humane Society of the United States manages to create the best possible outcome for each and every animal they rescue.
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