Animal Shelter Destroyed By Hurricane Receives Much Needed Help

When Hurricane Irma tore directly
through the small town of Marathon, the Florida Keys SPCA was in desperate
circumstances. So the strongest part of the storm was headed right for a shelter. We had over a hundred animals here that we had to evacuate. We were literally
standing out in the road on a main highway with signs that said, “Please, if
you’re leaving, take a pet with you.” We called all of our previous adopters, we called our fosters, we called our friends. We got every animal out of here. It was amazing, so it was really incredible to have the community come together like that. We took one last video of the shelter. We said goodbye and we drove away. When they were finally able to return to the shelter, they walked into complete and
utter destruction. The entire exterior and all the dog yards were gone. Just gone. Our yards had been completely tossed in with these big beautiful trees that had
collapsed. The devastation was beyond belief. It was overwhelming and
heartbreaking, to say the least. Fortunately, when a disaster strikes a
shelter that helps animals in need, there’s an organization with a solution. It’s called Rescue Rebuild. We travel all over the world renovating animal spaces for shelters, also wildlife sanctuaries. We do dog parks… Pretty much if it’s something that we can build for animals, we do it. Our disaster manager said, “This
shelter was really heavily hit and now they’re not able to take in pets. Their
pets are really, really struggling. What can we do to help them out?” Six weeks after the hurricane, a small team arrived and in just eight days, they skillfully
renovated the shelter. Rescue Rebuild is all volunteer-based, except for the core four of us that run it. We have to rely on local volunteers usually. It makes me feel so happy and so overjoyed to know that there are humans
that will gather together and put the animals as a priority to really get the
organization up and strong and you know for the animals to feel safe. It just
makes my heart very happy to know that these humans came together and helped
make this a strong, safe environment for the influx of animals. Rescue Rebuild not
only brought all of the materials, but they’ve spent two weeks in the grueling
sun building these amazing yards for our dogs. They worked from dusk till dawn all
day every day. They were incredible. We were so hot and so tired and it was a
breath of fresh air to have them come in here and help us. We wouldn’t have done
it without them. They were just overwhelmed. They were crying before we got here, crying while we were here, crying after we left. It makes you so
happy to get up every day and do what we do. The team created everything from a
spectacular meet-and-greet area and an outdoor patio, to a safe space for stray
animals and much-needed play yards. So behind me you see the kennels that we put up. This used to be almost like a tropical paradise. There were gorgeous
trees and all this really great landscaping and all of that was gone
after Irma, so we knew we had to do something to make it at least more
functional than it was. They’ll hopefully bring back some of that beauty. Unfortunately, we no longer have those big, beautiful trees, but we still want to
be able to provide our dogs some shade on a hot day, so these colorful shade
sails actually keep our dogs nice and cool and comfortable.
We have a special yard here with coyote roll bars. These actually help keep dogs
from jumping fences. That’s something really unique. Thanks to the renovation, the shelter is once again open for business with the space and
resources to nurture animals in need in hopes of finding them each a forever
home. You guys find one? Maybe! Maggie! Come on, Maggie. I think she would be a great fit for your
family. Maggie, are you ready to go home? They just make you your life happier. It’s fun. After the storm, it was
a long road and adopting Maggie has really been such a blessing. We can’t
imagine our lives without her. She really just helped bring a lot of joy back to
our family. The Florida Keys shelter is grateful for the chance to continue to do what they do best. To know that they’re out there and they heard our cries and were willing to come so far away to get our tiny little shelter back up and running was absolutely incredible and we’re honored. It’s great that they appreciate everything that we do for them, but honestly they’re the real
heroes here. They had to live through it. They had to recover from it. It was more
than a year in the making to get the Keys back up and running and it was
happy to be a part of it was all we were.

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