Everyone needs shelter from this monster storm.
Now, pets can find a safe haven inside a former Roswell Home Depot. When the state of Georgia asked the Atlanta Humane Society to open an emergency shelter to house up to 1,000 animals in need, they sprang into action.
Over the course of three days, crews transformed an empty warehouse into a bustling village. Around the clock, staff, volunteers, and generous donors are making sure no four-legged friends get left behind.
The animals come from all around. There are strays from Savannah and shelter dogs who made the trek up from Florida. The place is also packed with dogs from Fulton County’s Animal Shelter. They evacuated their West Midtown location due to fears of flooding. With Irma, no one wants to take an chances.
Many human hurricane evacuees can’t keep their pets with them in hotels, so the Humane Society is taking on those animals as well. One family brought their three dogs up from Miami.
The volunteers here are happy to help care for them to help owners rest a little easier.
“We're getting taking dogs off of the trucks as they came in. Load after load after load,” says volunteer Trevor Williams, as other dog trots into the animal intake area.
There’s a quiet place for cats here too. They’re kept in a separate room away from the barking and bellows coming from the big room. Despite the noise, everyone seems to be getting along.
“It's kind of like kids in the classroom,” says Williams. “If they're too chatty, we just move them around a little bit and that usually quiets them down again.”
Williams has spent the past two days here helping. She’s done everything from taking in donations to training fellow volunteers. There’s also a lot of walking to be done, especially in the mornings.
“There's over 100 dogs here now, so we all need to get in there and walk them as quickly as possible, because a lot of them aren't crate trained or housebroken. So we don't want them to wait, too long.”
After seeing video of the shelter on her mom’s Facebook page, Brooke Bowman is spending her 10th birthday bringing the dogs presents.
“It’s pretty safe in here,” Brooke says, relieved. “I always had a love for dogs and animals. I just love coming over and checking on every animal.”
None of this would be possible without an outpouring of support from animal lovers.
A single Facebook post over the weekend yielded most of the supplies they need. There are stacks of crates and kibble. Teams help organize mountains of paper, plastic bags, blankets and lots of KONGS filled with peanut butter.
The shelter has enough physical donations for now. Any extra supplies will be given to other Atlanta Area rescue groups. Because even in the midst of the storm, no creature should be forgotten.