Updated: May 28, 2013
On Monday, May 27, exactly one week after a tornado ravaged Moore, Oklahoma, pets from PAWS Chicago’s rescue mission in Oklahoma were available for adoption. Following a weekend of extensive media coverage, adopters lined up outside PAWS Chicago’s Lincoln Park Adoption Center, eager to do what they could to help in the aftermath of this natural disaster. In total, 69 animals were adopted on the Memorial Day holiday, with 29 of the adopted pets coming from Oklahoma.
The tornado that hit Monday, May 20 destroyed much of the town of Moore and its surrounding areas. By that Wednesday, 150 pets had already come into Oklahoma City Animal Care & Control (OACC). PAWS Chicago mobilized its volunteers and medical and intake team to make the journey to Oklahoma to help relieve the shelter of its pre-existing population of animals who were in the shelter prior to the storm, or who were directly turned in by their owners because they could no longer care for them. This freed space for the pets displaced as a result of the recent tornado, giving owners time to find their pets.
In total, PAWS Chicago rescued 76 pets, with 16 volunteers driving eight vans to transport them. Six of the dogs brought to Chicago were turned into OACC by a woman who lost her home and could no longer keep her pets. One of those pets, Bethany, was adopted by Tom and Ellie Bolin, who were featured in the Chicago Sun Times.
“We have seen that our community responds in times of crisis,” said Paula Fasseas, Founder and Chair of PAWS Chicago. “When we saw the images of the tornado aftermath in Oklahoma, we wanted to do something to help. Our volunteers, supporters and the media have been so supportive of our rescue efforts, enabling us to save more for homeless animals and do something positive for a community that has been so devastated.”
The animals arrived at PAWS Chicago’s Rescue & Recovery Center from Oklahoma on Saturday, May 25, where they were given complete medical care, vaccinations, microchips and spay/neuter surgeries. Many were already available for adoption on Monday. The remaining Oklahoma animals are in foster care to heal from illness or injury and will be available for adoption soon.
All tornado victimized pets will remain at the Oklahoma City shelter for 30 days to enable their families to find them. PAWS Chicago will make a return trip to Oklahoma in three weeks to take in pets victimized by the storm who were not reunited with their families.
By the end of their first day at the Adoption Center, PAWS Chicago found homes for 29 dogs from Oklahoma. We hope to find a home for our first Oklahoma kitty soon.
Throughout this rescue mission, PAWS Chicago has maintained its commitment to Chicago’s Animal Care & Control. With so much media attention focused on adoption, PAWS Chicago will be able to save more Chicago animals as well. Of the 6,000 pets that PAWS Chicago will save this year, 4,000 pets will come from Chicago’s Animal Care & Control.
Where Are They Now? Dogs from Oklahoma Loving Life in New Homes!
PAWS Chicago recently followed-up with families who welcomed pets transferred from Oklahoma to PAWS Chicago after the recent tornado, to see how they were doing in their new homes. We are happy to report that the families we’ve heard from so far report that their new four-legged friends have settled into their new homes and are loving their second chances at life. Here are two of the wonderful updates we received:
Thank you for taking me in from Oklahoma and helping me find my permanent home here in Chicago; I love it! I arrived at your facility on a Monday and left that Friday night. Even though it was a short stay, it was great. You called me Caden but I am officially Murray Francis and I hear my full name a lot when I forgot I need to go outside to go potty. My older sister Nala is also a PAWS dog and she assured me that I was in great hands in our new home. I regularly bug her but once I calm down, she lets me lay with her and we snuggle. My home is wonderful and there are so many toys! We live by two parks which we explore and there are many dogs in our neighborhood to see each time we go out. And best of all, everyone wants to pet me because I am so furry and soft. I’ve done so well in the crate at night that I already have my own bed next to Nala in the big bedroom; no more crate at night! I am working on being a good boy so in the next couple of months I won’t have to stay in the crate while they work either. Thanks again PAWS Chicago – you guys rock! – Murray Francis
Sadie (PAWS name Bianca) has been the perfect little addition to our lives. She absolutely adores her mom and dad and loves visits with her grandparents, too. After enduring a number of hardships in Oklahoma, including the devastating tornadoes that ultimately brought her to Chicago, Sadie is managing quite well in adjusting to her new city life. She’s a star pupil in her obedience class at K9 University and is quickly catching on to commands (as long as there’s a reward involved!). Fortunately for us she came to us potty trained, which was a real relief! Mostly, she just loves snuggling, going for walks and making new friends at the dog park. Her hates include squirrels and birds. Thanks again for bringing Sadie into our lives. – Stephanie
It is with pleasure that we send this photo of Kimberly (now Rosa, named after the Oklahoma state flower). She is a wonderful addition to our home and our large dog Muchacha has taken to her beautifully. We couldn’t have asked for more. Thank you to PAWS for all that you do. Your team is top notch. - The Hernandez family
Here are some photos of Oklahoma pups whose new families posted pictures of their new loves on PAWS Chicago’s Instagram page (@PAWSChicago).
We Still Need Your Support – How You Can Help!
PAWS Chicago is in need of foster homes to care for sick and injured pets. If you are able to provide a cat or dog with a temporary place to call home for a few weeks, please contact the foster program at email@example.com or 773-475-9464. By fostering a homeless pet, you enable PAWS Chicago to save more animals.
PAWS Chicago’s mission is to build a No Kill Chicago, however, in extraordinary circumstances like this, we want to utilize our expertise and dedicated volunteer and support base to help.
Please consider supporting PAWS Chicago’s Emergency Response. Through your donations, you will enable PAWS Chicago to assist the victims of the Oklahoma tornado. To make a donation, please visit http://tinyurl.com/donatepawschicago.
Funds raised in excess of the $20,000 goal will be used to cover additional medical expenses for the animals transported from Oklahoma or will go toward additional Oklahoma rescue missions. The tornado victims will be kept in Oklahoma shelters for 30 days to give their families the opportunity to reunite. PAWS Chicago will return after the 30 day period to transport additional pets who were unwanted.
Thank you to everyone who offered to volunteer your time in support of PAWS Chicago’s rescue efforts in Oklahoma. We received an outpouring of support with more than 300 people requesting to volunteer. We continue to need additional volunteer support over the next few weeks as the number of animals in our care has increased to accommodate the Oklahoma mission, while maintaining our efforts to save Chicago’s homeless pets.
We are excited to get you involved in our life-saving efforts. To be hands on with animals, volunteers need to complete Dog Town/Kitty City training. To sign up for a New Volunteer Orientation, please visit https://www.volgistics.com/ex/portal.dll/ap?AP=2102705367&OR=1.
If you have any questions, please contact our volunteer coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org
Photos by Caitlin Lisa Photography
Evening Photos by Richard Chen Photography