A Life Raft for Pets in Flooded North Dakota Town

By on July 6, 2011 with 0 Comments By Wayne Pacelle

On the heels of sheltering and rescuing pets in four states after devastating floods and tornadoes this spring, our Animal Rescue Team is now helping animals in Minot, N.D., while the city struggles with record flooding. For nearly two weeks, we’ve helped the Souris Valley Animal Shelter care for about 500 dogs, cats, and other pets at an emergency shelter.

About 12,000 people were forced to evacuate from their homes as the Souris River extended its reach far beyond its banks, and many of them are staying with friends and family or living in temporary shelters that don’t allow animals. But since they had enough notice and a dedicated place to bring their pets, these animals are now safe and sound. Our team has been touched by the outpouring of support from the community and their love for their pets.

Echo, a blind dog at the emergency animal shelter in Minot, North Dakota
Kathleen Summers/The HSUS
Can you help us care for more animals like Echo?

Staff and volunteers at the shelter spend their days feeding and walking the animals, cleaning their cages, organizing supplies and operations, talking with families who come to visit, and giving plenty of love and attention to each pet. After spending a few days caring for the dogs, one of our team members says she got to know each of them by name and even which toys and treats were their favorites.

One dog who made a big impression is a blind German shepherd named Echo, who was scared and confused when she arrived. The team took special care to guide her outside for walks along the same path, so she could get familiar with her environment and feel more at home. They brought her special treats and gave her plenty of hugs and reassurance. Now, the dogs seem to know which crates are theirs, and they’ve fallen into a daily routine of barking good morning to their caretakers, eating breakfast and stretching their legs outside, and then settling down for a nap. Donated stuffed animals and chew toys keep the puppies entertained while other dogs curl up on blankets.

Our staff are also providing food, water, and attention to the cats, birds, a rabbit, a guinea pig, and other pets at the shelter. Though nearly all pets were safely evacuated with their families, TV news reports showed a few stray cats stranded on rooftops amid the floodwaters. Compassionate first responders rescued several of these animals, including a small black-and-white kitten aptly named Lucky. He’s now resting comfortably at the emergency shelter (watch a local news video of the firefighter who rescued him here). Lucky’s story has drawn so much attention that we’re sure he will find a good home.

Throughout our time in Minot, the generosity and dedication of the local community have been inspiring. A dentist’s office affected by the flooding sent its staff to help out at the shelter; the sheriff arranged lodging for our staff at a local hotel under construction; businesses and individuals have been donating food and bottled water; and one tireless volunteer travels back and forth to the Red Cross shelter to offer rides so people can come visit their pets. The staff and board members of the Souris Valley Animal Shelter have worked 14-hour days to ensure these animals have a safe place to stay until their families can come back for them.

We’re so proud to be a part of this effort—if you can, please support our work to help these animals and others like them.

Animal Rescue and Care, Companion Animals

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