By Lillian Smith
While many focused on the situation of Texans affected by Hurricane Harvey, animal shelters prepared for the inevitable surge of abandoned animals in the wake of the storm. Steve Ortiz, an animal officer assistant at the Farmers Branch Animal Adoption Center, said they and other Dallas-area shelters were on standby to take animals as needed.
Jennifer Allen, Brookhaven College history professor, said, “It is easy to get involved. All you need to do is find the animal shelter or rescue group that you want to help and contact them.” Allen said she is familiar with the needs of animal shelters as she works with doberman rescue groups in North Texas.
Allen said most animal shelters have donation lists on their websites of things they need, such as dog or cat food, blankets and shampoo. Money is what many shelters need the most, but other donations are always welcome, she said.
Another way to help is to volunteer, Ortiz said. Animal rescue groups often find themselves short on volunteers. He said helping around the shelter is not only a fun job, but is critical for abandoned animals.
Claire Hargrave, certified clinical animal behaviorist, said animals undergo severe stress after being left behind. Staff or volunteers at an animal shelter can help calm these animals, which is essential to their healing.
Ortiz also said the shelter is constantly seeking new volunteers. Volunteers over 18 years old can register online through farmersbranch.info. After a background check, the shelter will contact them regarding the shelter’s needs at the time. Anyone 16 years or older is welcome to volunteer, he said.