Driving pet relief effort locally

November 13, 2012
A rescue worker with the Humane Society of the United States gives comfort to a puppy at a temporary shelter in Ocean County, NJ who was displaced by Hurricane Sandy. Photo courtesy of the Humane Society of the United States

WAYNESBURG – It comes as no surprise to those who know Dr. Anita McMillen of Braden Run Animal Hospital in Waynesburg that the images and stories of lost, frightened ,and in many cases homeless pets, in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy would compel her to do something to help. McMillen found a way through a personal connection in the form of longtime friend and fellow veterinarian, Dr. Malathy Roe.

“We are taking up a collection of animal stuff to send to New Jersey and then Malathy is passing it on,” McMillen said. Roe chose the Humane Society of the United States as the pass through for the supplies and monies collected for its ability to identify where the need is and to get the help there.

Roe was forced to temporarily close the doors of Parkview Veterinary Hospital in Boonton, N.J., when Sandy knocked the power out for several days. Upon reopening her business, Roe quickly moved to action.

“She is right in the middle of it,” said McMillen. “People were bringing animals to her clinic. She began working in coordination with the Humane Society and they are forwarding stuff to people at shelters in areas with the worst conditions.”

McMillen said pets are often the forgotten victims of natural disasters. A Facebook page set up to help reunite families with pets they were forced to leave behind during the storm, or those who wandered off, Hurricane Sandy Lost and Found Pets has more than 25,000 likes. On the page are photos of animals found in the hopes they can be reunited with their owners as well as those placed by families searching for a missing pet.

McMillen is hoping pet lovers in our area will find it in their hearts to contribute something to help these animals while they are in the care of others waiting to go home.

“People can drop off dog food, cat food, litter boxes, anything,” McMillen said. “This is something we can do to directly help. One person already dropped off a bunch of stuff and I am really grateful.”

Food, litter, crates, carriers, toys and treats are considered the most urgent items needed with blankets, bleach, paper towels, trash bags and laundry detergent also being requested.

Financial assistance is also welcome, McMillen said. It will help to cover costs of medical supplies and other items shelters may need, such as bird feed for domesticated birds that were rescued. Checks can be made payable to the Humane Society of the United States.

Both McMillen and Roe are collecting items and also providing financial support.

“On Saturday all of the proceeds from my business for the day will be donated from anyone who brings their pet in for an appointment or purchases something for their pet. Last Saturdays’ proceeds will be donated, too,” McMillen said.

When Roe learned what her friend was doing she was inspired to do the same with proceeds from Parkview Veterinary Hospital for Nov. 10 and this Saturday being added to McMillen’s donation.

Those wishing to contribute to the Furry Victims of Hurricane Sandy Drive at Braden Run Animal Hospital may do so from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday through Nov. 19.

Tara Kinsell started her career in journalism with the National Geographic Insider Magazine and the Gaithersburg Gazette Newspaper in Montgomery County, Md. Tara has written and photographed sports, features and news stories for the Herald Standard, Greene County Messenger and Albert Gallatin Weekly. She holds degrees in journalism and graphic design from Waynesburg College, now Waynesburg University, and the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, respectively.

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