How to Help Houston

 
 
Paper Trained
by
Scott Sandeman, D.V.M.
Disasters like we are witnessing in Houston and the surrounding areas always cause us to pause and count our blessings.  We know that no matter where we live and raise our families a flood, a fire, an earthquake may disrupt our lives like the unfortunate residents of southern Texas. 
Most pet lovers will be deeply touched by the rescue scenes of animals being carried over the shoulders of their caretakers or huddled, shuddering in an airboat as it makes it way down a flooded street.  Many of us will want to make sure we are there for them as they would be for us in a similar situation.
To help with the lucky pets that have safely made it out of the storm waters with their owners and the thousands of pets displaced or lost, donating to the right organization can minimize the ongoing trauma.   In the Houston area, hundreds of shelters both private and public need help.  For some, a quick search of the internet will reveal pet caretakers and local human societies in dire need.  Some requests are major- a new transport van to replace the flooded one to simple requests like leashes.  Reaching out to those you know truly in need is as simple as writing a check.  For those that don’t want to earmark funds to a smaller shelter or don’t know the recipient well, we recommend a donation to a larger organization equipped to handle these situations.  Money sent to the Humane Society of Texas (www.facebook.com/HSUSTexas) or the ASPCA (www.facebook.com/aspca) will find its way to helping those most in need.
If there is a silver lining for pets and owners in this catastrophe,   it lies in a federal law passed since the disaster of Hurricane Katrina.  The PETS Act addresses the needs of household pets and service animals-in many cases, owners are now allowed to bring these family members with them in federal arranged emergency shelters.  In past disasters including Katrina, some owners were forced to leave their pets behind.
Lastly, it is likely that pets that can’t be returned to their owners after the flooding recedes for any number of reasons will need new homes.  Your local humane society or pet adoption center may have dogs and cats from Texas to adopt-as always, consider this source first when looking for a new friend.
 

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