PRNewswire - When Hurricane Sandy ravaged the East Coast last October, it not only left thousands of miles of devastation, but it also uprooted the lives of all in its path – including millions of pets.
PetSmart Charities' Emergency Relief team sprang into action to help more than 60,000 displaced pets in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, West Virginia and Maryland.
Sherrie Buzby, a photojournalist for PetSmart Charities and New Jersey native, captured this unique relief effort in photo.
One location Buzby visited was a homeless facility in the Bronx that had been condemned. After Hurricane Sandy hit, authorities reopened the facility to temporarily house families who had lost their homes and been turned away from hotels because they had their pets with them.
"What I found there were amazing stories of unconditional love…what people went through to stay in the homeless shelter so they could be with their pets," said Buzby.
Among those pets was Pedro, a miniature pinscher, along with his pet parent, Shanna Nevarez. They were finally able to leave the condemned shelter after PetSmart Charities helped the ASPCA set up its temporary animal shelter in Brooklyn. There, pets like Pedro stayed and received loving care for weeks, while their pet parents checked into hotels and got back on their feet.
Buzby adds, "The one thing that touched my heart so much was the comfort that Shanna got from her little dog. He was comforting her as much as she was comforting him. Through this amazing chaos – losing all of her material possessions – she had her Pedro and that was worth more than anything to her."
In total, PetSmart Charities' Emergency Relief program delivered 450 tons of critical supplies such as pet food, crates and leashes to help pets affected by Sandy. The deployment was the largest in the program's history.
More than 110,000 pets have been assisted by PetSmart Charities Emergency Relief team since the program began in 2005, in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The program provides grants and goods to hundreds of animal welfare organizations across the country, including pets affected by large-scale disasters, as well as puppy mills and pet hoarding situations.
For more information on this and other PetSmart Charities programs, visit www.petsmartcharities.org.