20. One Dog’s Story
From August to September of 2017 a devastating hurricane season was unleashed upon northern and South American regions. One of the most notable was Hurricane Irma, which is now considered the strongest hurricane observed in the Atlantic since Wilma in 2005. The storm devastated millions of people. The devastation tore apart families and separated loved ones. The storm most dramatically affected those who couldn’t flee before it hit, and most of those were pets like Duncan. This is Duncan’s story of rescue and what his future is like after Hurrican Irma.
19. Hurricane Irma
Hurricane Irma started August 30, 2017, and ranged on until about September 16, 2017, according to experts. The storm itself was determined to be a category 5 hurricane which is the strongest category of hurricane the United States has ever seen. Google estimates the damages left behind by Hurricane Irma to be at least $62.87 billion dollars. This, of course, is only the cost value of damages done to infrastructure whereas the damage done to the communities has been immeasurable.
18. As the Storm Comes In
As Hurricane Irma started approaching, there were many families trying to evacuate all at once as the water levels began the rise. Many people could not escape their homes or neighborhoods in time as there simply were too many people trying to evacuate such a short amount of time. Those who did manage to evacuate could only leave with very little baggage or belongings. Some left with just the clothes on their backs leaving everything they knew and loved behind to face the storm. Unfortunately, many animals and pets were among the left behind to face Hurricane Irma including Duncan the pitbull.
17.Abandoned and Afraid
Abandoned and afraid of what was to come next, animals like Duncan would wonder if the were ever going to see their loved ones again. Dogs and cats were not only left behind by family but many were not able to escape the storm as it came in due to being trapped inside their homes. There were many animals even found trapped in their kennels as the water started to rush over them. For many, rescue came to late.
16. To The Rescue
In the darkest of times, there is always hope, love, and light. This was in the form of the first responders that set out to rescue the left behind people and their animals. Many of the first responders were community members who were being directly affected themselves. They deployed on boats, rafts, or whatever else they could find and they swept the flooded and flooding area for any signs of life.
15. The Devastation
Hurricane Irma’s devastation was topping records set by storms previously. With millions of people and animals displaced there was simply so many being affected at once. According to Animals 24/7 Online, “Hurricane Irma forced more than 70% of the humane society and animal control shelters serving Florida to either close for at least one day when they normally would have been open, but just over half––55%––were open again within 72 hours” Once the storm started to pass and the damages were being assessed, many began to take notice of the sheer amount of lost pets. The numbers were staggering.
14. The Lost Pets of Irma
According to Animal 24/7 Online: “Probably the most dramatic rescue story emerging from animal shelters after Hurricane Irma was the evacuation of 101 dogs and cats from the flooded Clay County Animal Care & Control shelter near Jacksonville, Florida.” Many Animals who were rescued from Irma by first responders were in need of new homes.
13. The Dogs of Irma
Many dogs and cats were flown in from affected areas to New York in order to find a new home. According to a report by WBEN News, a local New York news station, “There were close to 100 dogs on the plane this morning,” SPCA Serving Erie County’s President Gary Willoughby said. “More than half of them landed in Delaware and were dropped off at shelters in that region and the balance came here. Twenty-one came to us. Ten going to the Toronto Humane Society. Seven more going to the Chemung County SPCA.”
Canadian cities like Toronto also stepped in to take in the strays from Hurricane Irma. Although, Toronto has specific rules regarding pit bulls like Duncan, so that breed was required to stay within the United States for adoption. So what happened to all the lost and forgotten pit bulls?
12. The Rescue Plan
The general plan of action for these abandoned animals was to gather the rescued animals up from first responder groups and hand them off to local officials to be sent to various locations around the country to be examined, treated, and possibly adopted. Among these animals was Duncan the pitbull who was lucky enough to be rescued from the storm but was in extremely rough condition.
11. Organizations Step In
This rescue plan was very ambitious and had to be executing quicky so this is when many organizations large and small stepped in to help the abandoned and lonely animals such as Duncan. One of the main organizations focused on animal rescue during Irma was The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals or ASPCA. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is a non-profit organization dedicated to preventing cruelty to animals.
10. A Second Chance
With the help of organizations such as The The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals or ASPCA and local organizations such as local animal shelters all throughout Florida and the affected areas, hundreds of rescue dogs and cats were rounded up, put in kennels, and shipped off to rehabilitation and adoption centers throughout The United States and Canada. These animals like Duncan were lucky to be rescued and ready for their second chance at a family.
The touchdown scenes across the news were full of emotion as footage showed hundreds of kennels being unloaded from Florida planes in cities across the country. These animals ranged in size, age, and some were in better condition than others.
So let’s meet Duncan.
8. Meet Duncan
Poor Duncan had arrived along with a fleet of other dogs and he seemed to be in the worst shape out of all of them. With so many amazing organizations that stepped in to help in the aftermath of the hurricane, when local shelter crew members found Duncan abandoned after Hurricane Irma, they knew he was special. Time was ticking as the pup wasn’t in good shape.
7. In Rough Shape
Duncan was in Florida abandoned when the rescue workers found him. He was very malnourished, cold, wet, and covered in scars that appear to be from other dogs. He may have been involved in dogfighting. Duncan looked like he had been through a lot but was still so sweet and gentle with the rescue workers and other dogs.
6. Awaiting the Next Steps
Once rescued and flown in from evacuated shelters, dogs and cats are brought to animal rescue centers for evaluation and medical treatment before they are handed off to various adoption agencies throughout the city. Many dogs are given new identification tags as officials try to determine where they came from out of the affected storm areas.
5. Dogs Like Duncan
For dogs like Duncan who are badly hurt and in a little bit of rougher condition it is most likely harder for the animal rescue teams to clear them for adoption until they can receive medical attention. Duncan who looked like he may have been owned for dogfighting or experienced animal abuse will require extra special care and attention.
4. Ready for Happily Ever After
Duncan and many dogs that where rescued who may have not come from the greatest situation before the hurricane, now get a second chance at life. By some miracle out of thousands, Duncan was picked up and rescued and now is headed towards becoming healthier so he can find his forever home. In a way, Hurricane Irma was a miracle for Duncan.
3. Miracle Makers
Although the true micrcle makers across the board in this situation were the first responders themselves. Not only did they risk their lives to save Duncan and animals like Duncan, but they also went out in search of affected community members and the elderly. These people who have nothing left, still found it in their hearts to give everything they could in order to save lives.
2. The Ones In Need
Hurricane Irma may have happened a few months ago but the road to recovery for all those affected has only just begun. There are still organizations that are trying to find forever homes for animals like Duncan and there are still communities who have not financially recovered from the infrastructure they have lost. Families are still mourning the loss of their loved ones and pets who may not have been as lucky as Duncan.
So where did Duncan end up?
1. Duncan’s Forever Home
Duncan is now fully restored to a new bright-eyed and bushy-tailed version of himself and has been adopted by a young woman with kids. He has now begun to live the life of his dreams and experience the love and affection he had been missing all along.