Ian Relief | PAWS Chicago

Support PAWS Chicago's Hurricane Ian Animal Rescue

October 13:

PAWS Chicago rescued a third transport of animals from Florida this week. Kimberly Smith, a dedicated volunteer who was in the affected area, transported six more cats from Florida to the PAWS Chicago Medical Center for care, bringing the total number of hurricane pets rescued to 144. The two-day trek included an overnight stay in a hotel where the cats could stretch and enjoy a relaxing cat nap.

October 9:

PAWS Chicago, the city’s largest No Kill humane organization, partnered with Wings of Rescue and BISSELL Pet Foundation to save 85 cats and dogs that survived Hurricane Ian in Florida’s Gulf Coast and Hurricane Fiona in Puerto Rico. Combined with the 53 pets that arrived to PAWS Chicago’s Medical Center from the Gulf Coast on Tuesday, this brings the total number of hurricane pets rescued this week to 138. 

  • Forty-two (42) cats and dogs that arrived today are survivors of last month’s Hurricane Fiona in Puerto Rico 

  • Forty-three (43) of the cats and dogs that arrived today are from Florida’s Gulf Coast region, including Fort Myers  

PAWS is answering an incredible need in these hurting communities, and this is the second large rescue transport in partnership with Humane Society Naples in a week, pulling pets from multiple Gulf Coast area shelters. In anticipation of a second wave of overcrowding, PAWS was asked to help empty impacted shelters once again. 

In addition, PAWS is working with The Sato Project to rescue animals that have been awaiting rescue in shelters damaged by Hurricane Fiona in Puerto Rico. Wings of Rescue volunteer pilots flew these pets to safety to meet PAWS Chicago vans at DuPage Flight Center in West Chicago this afternoon. 

PAWS Chicago takes action in natural disasters, forging long-term partnerships to help communities long after the disaster subsides. The newly renovated PAWS Chicago Medical Center makes it possible for the organization to take in a large volume of animals in emergency situations and provide the advanced level of care these helpless pets deserve.  

October 5: They’re here! 

More than 50 pets safely arrived at PAWS Chicago Tuesday evening, October 5, completing a 20+ hour drive north from hurricane-ravaged Florida Gulf Coast. 

These pets had been in Florida shelters before the hurricane hit, and by coming to Chicago, they made room for those shelters to focus their efforts on reuniting lost pets with their families. 

Now that they’re here at PAWS Chicago, each of these pets will be given a medical exam and care as needed, as well of plenty of love and cuddles as they have just been through quite the journey!  

October 3: Rescue underway 

Today (Tuesday, October 4) more than 50 pets from Florida will arrive at our Medical Center to begin a new chapter in Chicago!

Over the weekend, PAWS Chicago volunteers drove vans filled with emergency supplies to the hurricane-ravaged Florida Gulf Coast and are now bringing back homeless pets that had been in the impacted Florida shelters before the storm hit.

PAWS partnered with Humane Society Naples, which operated as the nerve center for animals from several area shelters, including the Gulf Coast Humane Society in Fort Myers, which had to shut down due to loss of power, water, and staff.

These shelters are also expecting an inevitable second wave of crowding and have asked us to come back, which we will do in the coming days. 

Once at our Medical Center, each pet will be given medical examinations and care as needed before heading to our Adoption Center! 

September 30: PAWS Chicago Mobilizing to Save Pets in Hurricane Ian’s Directly Impacted Areas  

PAWS Chicago, is responding to the devastation of Hurricane Ian by mobilizing volunteers from Chicago to rescue dozens of homeless pets from the hurricane-ravaged Gulf Coast.   

PAWS Chicago will be partnering with Humane Society Naples and the Gulf Coast Humane Society in Fort Myers, whose building and operation were decimated by the storm, to bring back 42 cats and dogs from area shelters. 

The PAWS rescue vans will depart from the PAWS Chicago Medical Center to make the 21-hour drive to Humane Society Naples. The volunteers and rescued animals are expected to return to Chicago on Monday afternoon.   

There are several ways to help:  

  • Today, drop off emergency supplies from 12-6 p.m at the PAWS Chicago Medical Center, located at 3516 W 26th Street, Chicago, IL 60623. Needed supplies include bottled water, pet food, towels, cleaning supplies, leashes, and collars. These items will be transported by van tonight as volunteers drive to Florida to pick up pets.  

  • Make a donation to support the costs associated with sending the PAWS volunteer vans to Florida for the rescue, and then rehabilitating the pets at the PAWS Chicago Medical Center, the country’s most advanced hospital for homeless pets. Each pet will be given complete medical care, vaccinations, microchips, spay/neuter surgeries and other treatments as needed.   

  • Sign up to foster a pet. Pets recovering from trauma and health issues are more likely to thrive in a home environment after receiving medical care from PAWS. Putting pets in foster makes room in our hospital for the next patient.

  • Consider adopting a homeless pet. Every adopted pet makes room at PAWS for the next transport serving an area of need. 

“As a No Kill organization, we are committed to the life and long-term needs of every pet we rescue,” said Paula Fasseas, founder and chairman of PAWS Chicago. “We built our Medical Center with the intention of using it in times of crisis just like this, in order to give helpless pets the sophisticated level of care they deserve.”  

Hurricane Ian, one of the strongest hurricanes to ever strike the United States, made landfall as a Category 4 storm that brought widespread destruction with 150 mph winds and a devastating storm surge. Fort Myers Beach, along with Lee County’s other barrier islands, was in the direct path and among the hardest hit on Florida’s coastline. In times like this, the PAWS Chicago community always rallies to the aid of animal shelters who need our help. 

PAWS Chicago's efforts will focus on pets who had already been in the impacted Florida shelters before the storm hit, making space for the influx of animals displaced by the hurricane. Once medically cleared, each pet will be available for adoption at PAWS Chicago’s Lincoln Park Adoption Center. 

PAWS Chicago takes action in natural disasters, going beyond emergency rescue, forging long-term partnerships to help communities long after the disaster subsides.