The cats above are just a few of those being given medical care and held to be reunited with their owners at the University of California at Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. I took a screenshot of their Facebook gallery. I know that two of these cats have identified owners but need to stay until their injuries are healed. That’s a happy story!
I have tried to grasp the horrible nature of wildfire, and what’s happened in California in the past weeks. I’ve also tried to put myself in the places of those who have survived it, though with deep losses of home, possessions, priceless memories, family members, and pets. We can’t help them replace what they’ve lost, but we can do a small part in helping them rebuild their lives, and to help pets who were injured by the fires by helping those who are helping locally, those who need it the most.
On November 17 I listened to a story of a man searching for days for his disabled wife in shelters knowing he’d find their cats and dogs with her because she wouldn’t leave them. He and his wife were aware and ready to evacuate, but the morning the fire hit their neighborhood it was fairly clear and no alerts were set for their area. He kept in touch with his wife while at work but returned a few hours later when it was clear the fire was roaring toward their home. A police barricade blocked him from proceeding up the hill to his home. After searching shelters he was finally able to go back to his neighborhood, and found his home completely destroyed. The next day the coroner called him with news of finding his wife’s remains. (Separated By Fire, Man Launches Wrenching Search For His Wife)
We wonder why people don’t leave, and why they leave their pets behind, but we don’t always know what really happened. These people were aware, prepared, in communication, and yet the worst imaginable happened to them. Locally, and not nearly as catastrophic, when a flood hit my town in 2004, people were away at work and couldn’t get near their homes until the next day. Many pets were lost that day. Even when we have a plan in place we aren’t always able to do what we’ve planned. These people and pets need help in getting back on their feet and paws.
Four simple tips in helping after a disaster
Help and donate to local agencies, and don’t run out on your own to start rescuing, but network with what is already on the ground. Below are four simple tips from animal rescue organizations local to international for how volunteers can best help animals in the wake of a natural disaster:
- Find who has already organized rescue efforts, sign up as a volunteer, and join in to help where your skills and abilities best fit.
- Don’t move animals unless you are requested to do so. If you find an animal you feel is abandoned call the nearest agency to find out if you should move it and who has the room and can provide for that animal.
- Find out what agencies and shelters need before you collect goods and food for donation.
- If you donate money, donate directly to a local shelter or organization to avoid scams.
How to help in California
These people need everything, but their greatest need is not for things, but for housing and transportation so they can get back to work. Money is the greatest donation right now. If you donate goods, make sure they are clean and in good repair. No one wants a broken table or a stained tee. No one has the time right now to sort things out and to repair or discard things that can’t be donated. This article pretty much covers agencies helping people: https://www.redding.com/story/news/local/2018/11/09/camp-fire-how-you-can-help-victims
Adopting an animal already up for adoption in one of the shelters in the area is a huge help because it opens up space to take in an animal in need. Agencies who are rescuing on the ground and who are housing and treating animals may have wish lists for goods, but for the most part they need money for the enormous cost of housing and giving medical care to not only cats and dogs, but also exotic pets and large animals including livestock from farms.
These agencies are providing emergency shelter, food, and medical care for animals and opening reunification centers for humans and animals who’ve been separated and can’t find each other.
UC Davis Davis School of Veterinary Medicine
Fire care: https://give.ucdavis.edu/go/firecare
Veterinary Catastrophic Need Fund: https://give.ucdavis.edu/VMTH/V6TH631
The Humane Society of Ventura County: https://www.hsvc.org/donate
LA County Animal Care Foundation: https://lacountyanimals.org/way-to-give/disaster-relief/
North Valley Animal Disaster Group: https://www.nvadg.org
Butte County Camp Fire Rescued Animals: https://sites.google.com/view/campfirerescuedanimals/
San Francisco Disaster Relief Fund, raised $120,000 of $100,000 in one day, now all donations up to $1 million are matched through December 31:
Facebook fundraiser (takes no fee): https://www.facebook.com/donate/200212104234611/10156988435996907/
Website donation: https://www.sfspca.org/give-917
This is not an exhaustive list because there are many more organizations both near the fire areas, and who have traveled from distances to help. But anything you could donate, even $5.00, will add up to help.
Read more articles in the category Health and Welfare
Gifts featuring cats you know! Visit Portraits of Animals
Great Rescues Day Book:
Portraits, Rescue Stories, Holidays and Events, Essential Feline Information, All in One Book
Each month features one of my commissioned portraits of a feline or felines and their rescue story along with a kitty quote on the left page, and on the right page the month name with enough lines for all possible dates, with standard holidays and animal-themed observances and events. Great Rescues also includes a mini cat-care book illustrated with my drawings including information on finding strays or orphaned kittens, adopting for the first time or caring for a geriatric cat, a list of household toxins and toxic plants, or helping stray and feral cats and beginning with TNR.
Each book includes also 10 sheets of my “22 Cats” decorative notepaper with a collage of all the portraits in black and white so you can make your own notes or write special notes to friends.
The portraits in this book, collected as a series, won both a Certificate of Excellence and a Muse Medallion in the 2011 Cat Writers’ Association Annual Communication Contest, as well as the 22 Cats Notepaper mentioned below.
All images and text used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission, although links to your site are more than welcome and are shared. Please ask if you are interested in using and image or story in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of an image or a product including it, check my animal and nature website Portraits of Animals to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit Ordering Custom Artwork for more information on a custom greeting card, print or other item.
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Weekly schedule of features:
Sunday: Essays, Pet Loss, Poetry, The Artist’s Life Monday: Adoptable Cats, TNR & Shelters Tuesday: Rescue Stories Wednesday: Commissioned Portrait or Featured Artwork Thursday: New Merchandise Friday: Book Review, Health and Welfare, Advocacy Saturday: Your Backyard Wildlife Habitat, Living Green With Pets, Creating With Cats And sometimes, I just throw my hands in the air and have fun!