Sali Gear, co-founder of the Island Dog Rescue in Virginia Beach, which specializes in saving dogs from the U.S. Virgin Islands, chartered a plane to save 300 animals on Tuesday – just ahead of Hurricane Maria – a Category 5 hurricane heading for the Caribbean islands again.
Over the weekend, Sali and her supporters chartered the plane stating she had to do it because “it had to be done.” According to the Pilotonline, Sali grew up in the islands and had been back to the Virgin Islands since Hurricane Irma had devastated the area just two weeks ago. Many of the animals had been left homeless and had been scrounging the deserted areas looking for food.
At 2:00 a.m. on Tuesday, the animals arrived in Norfolk, Virginia:
“Dawn Balcazar After much much planning stateside and much planning and work in St Thomas and St Croix, about 300 dogs and cats were shipped on a 727 out of the USVI to Norfolk VA. The plane landed today at around 2 am! A great feeling and so glad to have helped out with this. Island Dog Rescue is continuing to raise funds for this flight.”
On the organization’s fundraising page, the following updates have been posted:
“Over 300 animals were evacuated from the Virgin Islands on Monday Sept 18 th. The animals are currently in Virginia on Sali Gear’s ranch. She needs supplies, donations and help walking dogs. Please send Island Dog Rescue a message on Facebook if you would like to donate your time or any supplies.
We need to all come together to support Sali’s epic evacuation in a time of dire urgency. She came thru for so many people and animals so let’s please help her and her organization recuperate the $122,000 mission.”
Once brought to Sali’s farm, the rescued dogs and pets somehow knew they had been saved and eagerly wagged their tails and licked the hands of volunteers. Local rescue groups had been picking up animals and taking them to new homes in places like Pittsburgh, North Carolina and Boston. More local residents have volunteered to help walk and care for the dogs.
“Thank you so much for all the donations! It has been overwhelming to see the generosity of our community. Please be patient and understanding with slower correspondence from us. Our volunteers are exhausted. Thank you for all you are doing to help! At this time, we have plenty of supplies and food, etc! Please consider a monetary donation if you are so inclined to help. We still have significant fundraising to meet the expenses of this effort.”
Our thoughts and prayers to everyone struggling to survive this devastating hurricane. Many thanks to the heroes who go beyond all of our expectations to help those who cannot speak nor can cry out for help. Read more about the Island Dog Rescue and how you can help here.
(Photos of pets rescued before Hurricane Maria hit via Facebook)
Follow the National Pet Rescue on Facebook.