A record-sized tornado plowed through Oklahoma this Monday, leaving death and destruction in its wake. People, companion animals, farm animals and other animals are now displaced and injured. Even in the midst of chaos and destruction, humanity finds a way to shine; dozens of agencies are on the scene helping the injured and homeless by collecting food for animals, bringing in search and comfort dogs, and connecting lost companion animals with their people.
Lutheran Church Charities, which runs the LCC K-9 Comfort Dog Ministry, sent six dogs and nine trained handlers from Illinois and Indiana to Oklahoma City on Tuesday. The plan is to make the dogs available for anyone affected by the tornado. They can spend time with the dogs and talk about their experience to the dogs.
“They are good listeners and help people process loss and tragedy,” said the charity’s president, Tim Hetzner. The dogs and their handlers were invited to help by Messiah Lutheran Church in Oklahoma City. The church plans to take the Illinois volunteers to The Children’s Hospital at OU Medical Center in Oklahoma City. The group will also visit shelters in Moore, Okla., where most of the tornado’s damage occurred, and the University of Oklahoma’s campus in Norman in an effort to help tornado victims and first responders directly, said Messiah Lutheran Church’s senior pastor Mark Muenchow. “People will still be fairly shellshocked,” Muenchow said. “The dogs kind of take their focus off of it for a moment and allow them to kind of share.”
Vetstreet has compiled information for those in need of help, and for those who would like to join the effort:
How to Donate Food, Money and Supplies:
Search Dog Foundation: Based in California, this group is going into dangerous places to help rescue victims in Oklahoma. You can make a donation on its website.
Oklahoma City Animal Shelter: If you would like to donate for the animals, contact Cathryn English with the Oklahoma City Animal Shelter. It needs food, blankets, and towels right now, but it is best to call and ask first. Call (405) 297-3100 or (405) 297-3088.
Pet Food Pantry of Oklahoma City: This nonprofit is accepting food donations and offering dog food, cat food, leashes, collars, food bowls and other supplies to those in need. Call (405) 664-2858.
Central Oklahoma Humane Society is in need of towels, paper towels, gloves and food for volunteers. Donations can be dropped off at either 5420 N. Classen Blvd., Oklahoma City, OK, or 2905 70th St. NW, Oklahoma City, OK. Visit its website to make a donation to its disaster relief fund.
Operation OKdog is trying to get a team of pet experts to Oklahoma to help animals in need. These are New Yorkers who are trying to make a difference for Oklahoma! They need funding. Please help by going here.
Join the “Diffuser Movement”! Aromatherapy is helping animals affected by the tornadoes to move past their trauma and anxiety. You can help to bring comfort to animals in need! Learn more here.
Lost and Found Animal Information:
Animal Resource Center: If you find displaced animals, you can take them to the Animal Resource Center at 7949 S. I-35 Service Road, Oklahoma City, OK, 73149. The center is posting information on the pets it is caring for on its Facebook page. It is also offering displaced people shelter for the night. Call (405) 604-2892.
Annie’s Ruff House is taking in dogs displaced by the storm. It’s located at 1043 N. University Blvd., Norman, OK. Call (405) 310-3084.
The Edmond Sun Found Pets: The local newspaper is posting descriptions of animals who have been found and are seeking their owners.
OKC Lost Pets: This website was set up specifically to respond to this disaster. It is a virtual bulletin board for those who have lost or found pets.
Moore Oklahoma Tornado Lost and Found Animals: Nearly 4,000 people are following this Facebook page, where you can post about lost and found pets.
Oklahoma Animal Lost and Found Tornado Group is a Facebook group for sharing information on lost and found pets.
Resource for Displaced Horses: Yvette Fees has offered to take in displaced horses. She lives in the Moore area but was not impacted by the tornado. She has a trailer and can assist in transporting horses to her property. She can be reached at (405) 589-0883 or at email@example.com.
1 Day Ranch: The owner of this rescue is headed to Moore and says it can help with dogs, horses and other small livestock. It also has some first aid items for animals who’ve sustained injuries, and can help with transport if needed. Please contact Maeghan at (405) 226-1946 if you need any help.
Wildlife Ambassadors is offering temporary shelter for exotic animals (birds, ferrets, reptiles) at their USDA licensed facility. Call 405-426-5642 or 405-863-7614.
Veterinarian Triage Areas and Clinics In The Area
Penn South Pet Clinic is a veterinary clinic that’s taking in lost pets. Update: The triage area that was set up at Home Depot in Moore on Monday has been moved. Veterinary personnel are now offering care at the Cleveland County Fairgrounds in Norman. The address is 615 E. Robinson, Norman, OK 73071. As the situation continues to change in Moore, there will likely be more groups offering help, and we want to get the word out.
For veterinarian-approved advice on caring for pets during natural disasters and other emergencies, please visit our disaster preparedness page.
A Miracle Among the Destruction
Bad things do happen in the world, like war, natural disasters, disease. But out of those situations always arise stories of ordinary people doing extraordinary things.
Visit the Red Cross website or text the word DONATE to the Red Cross number (90999) to give $25 or text the word REDCROSS to the same number to give $10.