When hurricane Irene was approaching Long Island, the first thing I did was pack my dog Indu's bag just in case I needed to evacuate. She is the first thing that crosses my mind every morning, and every night. She is my world. Sadly, there are many who have hearts as cold as the arctic ice. They abandon pets in lonely pens, some of them outside even in the middle of a historic hurricane, like the one in this news story from North Carolina where it took authorites five trips to rescue a scared and drenched family dog from an outside pen (http://www.examiner.com/dogs-in-national/abandoned-locked-kennel-during-hurricane-irene)
The day Irene was to hit New York, I signed up for updates from the Hurricane Irene 2011 Animal Rescue Resource Page on Facebook. I wanted to see if there was anything I could do to help. Soon, my newsfeed was full of messages about shelters needing foster homes and volunteers in North Carolina, New Jersey, and other states in the path of the natural disaster.
Shortly before noon on Saturday, I saw a post about Hempstead Animal Shelter needing foster homes for their existing pets in order to accommodate any animals that might be needing shelter in the aftermath of the hurricane.
I quickly jotted down the information, consulted with my folks and made the call to offer help. Within a few minutes, I was on my way to the shelter, with my own dog in tow to help find a dog that’d match my dog’s temperament. If I was going to house this dog for a few days, we needed to have a compatible match.
After making Indu interact with a few dogs, we finally settled on a small and energetic Lhasa Apso that was just brought in as a stray the week before. She was eager, jumping up and down and she seemed to get along with Indu just fine.
I brought them both back, and named the little dog Lucy, after an extended family pet who just passed. Lucy quickly made herself at home, hopping up on our couches and my bed. She knew commands like “Sit”, “Stay” and when my dad offered her treats and said, “Jump”, she knew exactly what to do. She was happiest when she ran in our backyard, sniffing fresh grass and playing with her new canine buddy.
But either the stress of being in a new environment or the impending hurricane, Lucy became slightly agitated and began rubbing her sores (she had one on her forehead and another under her shoulder) on the carpet. The sores seemed harmless, and the shelter promised to have them taken care of well before someone adopts her.
Still, I held her close to me in her new pink blanket and snuggled her in my arms, swaying her gently and repeating “everything will be just fine” while Indu sniffed around and put a comforting paw on Lucy’s tiny body. Both of them dozed off and I was as happy as I could be.
That first night Lucy spent with us, I laid out two doggie beds next to my bed. But I was unsuccessful in getting them both to sleep in their respective beds, as they both competed. If one jumped in one, the other wanted that bed, and vice versa. Eventually, Indu settled next to me while Lucy slept by my feet. Indu is not a licker, but Lucy was happy to lick my feet and cozy up next to me. She was glad to have a bed and a warm body next to her, away from the cage she was spending her time in.
It saddened me to think about how anyone would give up the unconditional love of a dog. In Lucy's case, she was abandoned after she gave her best to her family for six years. She still has many years ahead of her, and I hope one day soon she will be able to find her forever family that will be good to her because she, like all the other shelter dogs, deserves it.
The next few days were filled with laughter and joy, and we had forgotten we were weathering a massive tropical storm and the power outage that followed. That’s the beauty of dogs.
The day I had to return Lucy to the shelter was hard. But I vowed to myself to do everything I can to find her a good home. If you like to help Lucy out, please email me at Lavanyasun@gmail.com. Or please pass along this blog post to your family and friends.
Here’s a short video of Lucy with my father and Indu- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MeaOJvEgcrI