Pets in Houston need our help

Dear Editor,

VT Volunteer Services for Animals Humane Society (VVSA) is in the process of organizing a truckload of animal supplies for delivery to the areas ravaged by Hurricane Harvey. Donations of canned animal food with flip tops, bagged cat and dog food, flea and tick medicine, light weight kitty litter and litter boxes, heavy duty paper plates, bottled water, blankets and towels, bowls, collars, leashes, large magic markers & index cards, folding animal crates, and most especially, live traps with which to catch the animals that have become terrified of people, are desperately needed. One-sided traps only, please, for the safety of the animal are needed. “Tru-Catch” makes quality humane traps and can be reached at 1-800-247-6132 or www.trucatchtraps.com

Several drop off locations for donations throughout the Upper Valley and Windsor County will soon be designated. Once the specific locations are identified, they will be advertised.

A designated account has been opened at Mascoma Savings Bank, available at any branch for financial contributions. Donations can be made by referencing: VT Volunteer Services for Animals Humane Society, “Hurricane Relief Fund”.VVSA is a non-profit organization with 501(c)(3) tax exempt status. Contributions are tax deductible. All funds will go towards the needs of the animals and will not be used to pay salaries. Email: jack@jackrossi.com  or skaskiw@vermontel.net or for more information go to our website: vvsahs.org.

Having had the opportunity to go to St. Bernard Parrish following Hurricane Katrina, I know the reality following a disaster of this magnitude, and that the situation changes weekly. While rebuilding is a long term project, the rescue of animals is time sensitive. We were at an animal rescue site during the last week before the rescue effort ended. The images and the memories are as vivid now as they were in 2005. Cats, dogs, and other animals were still in need of rescue.

However, because of their fear and disorientation, the remaining   animals were too frightened to trust any human.They either kept their distance, searching for a familiar face, or ran off as soon as someone approached. One of the last images the evening before we left was of a pair of dogs, one very large, and one very small, but very bonded.They were too frightened to approach us but stood in the road together, watching.

There was nothing we could do at that point to help them. The rescue site was closing and we were leaving. We later learned that the National Guard had orders to shoot any remaining animals. The reasoning behind that order was that there would be no food source available and no one to reach out to the animals that remained.

Unable to know at this point what rescue site will still be helping animals in need, the exact location of the recipient of our contributions can not yet be determined. We want to be sure that the site will be functioning and the donations will all be used.

Your gifts will, however, be invaluable.

After our group returned to VT VVSA was able to coordinate two shipments of cats and dogs in need of homes to come up to Vermont. Thanks to the Windsor County Sheriff’s Department that allowed us to use their facility, dozens of dogs and cats were welcomed into hearts and homes far removed from the disaster left behind. Remarkably, thanks to a website that had been set up to try to unite the animals with their families, two cats and a dog were reunited with their families! For those who had lost everything, finding their beloved animal alive was a miracle.

We are in the process of locating a driver to bring items to the area most in need ASAP. While collected items are very important, financial contributions are just as critical. If the truck is coming back to this area we may be able to bring cats and dogs back for adoption. However, every animal in a shelter is a “rescue,” so please consider opening your home to an animal in need of love and attention. The reward will be priceless.

On behalf of the animals that can’t thank you, I do.

Sue Skaskiw, Bridgewater

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