The 83 dogs and 75 cats that arrived in Florida from the Bahamas in the wake of devastation wrought by Hurricane Dorian were greeted with so much love, only six of the expected 15 dogs to be taken in by Nate’s Honor Animal Rescue made it to Bradenton.
Staff from Nate’s left to meet the plane arriving in Fort Lauderdale at 6 a.m. on Monday and the plane didn’t arrive until 10 p.m. Then came the transport back to Bradenton.
Multiple rescue groups were on the ground and though the animals were designated for specific locations, some minor hiccups on the ground and the fact that 25 dogs had to catch an unanticipated second flight led to some confusion, but all of the animals made it to various rescue facilities.
That includes 10 cats that are being housed at Cat Depot, located at 2542 17th St. in Sarasota.
On Tuesday, staff from Nate’s, as well as the six dogs that made the trip across the state Monday night and into Tuesday morning, were tuckered out, but in good spirits.
The dogs were expressing a variety of emotions. “Big Mama” was showing she already knows how to play the adoption game and was bouncing around with her squeaky toy, tail wagging and willing to play with anyone who stopped by to say hello.
Others were exhausted, while some were incredibly shy.
And then there was Chico, who was surrendered by his owners when his family had to evacuate and couldn’t take him with them. Chico was ripped from his family, survived a hurricane, flew to Florida, took a long road trip and deposited in another strange location in a relatively short time.
You can’t miss the emotional duress he’s felt when you look into his eyes, but he’s a sweet boy in need of love and stability.
“The dogs have been through a lot so we are just kind of letting them do their own thing,” Nate’s executive director Dari Oglesby said. “One is super shy so we are letting him settle a little bit and for today, we’ll have one person caring for them to limit the stimulation.”
Each dog was evaluated upon arrival and will remain in quarantine per protocol until about Oct. 1.
“Everybody looks pretty good overall,” Oglesby said. “We have one that clearly has had a broken leg at some point. Another has an upper respiratory issue. We are doing fecals and parasite testing, but overall, they look pretty healthy. We’ll hold them in quarantine because there are some things on the islands that would take two weeks to break so we’ll know by then.”
Oglesby added: “We have an emergency response team to handle these situations. That’s what they do.”
Nate’s took in dogs from St. Croix after Hurricane Maria struck in 2017, but Oglesby said this situation is different.
“In this situation, we took directly from a shelter,” she said. “St. Croix was stray dogs that were found after the hurricane.”
For the Bahamian dogs, Nate’s and other organizations are helping to clear out the Bahamas Humane Society shelter to make room for the influx of lost dogs from the storm.
Oglesby said people will not be allowed to have contact with the Bahamian dogs until they are released from quarantine and she will keep people posted on Nate’s Facebook page.
In the meantime, there are plenty of other animals at Nate’s that are up for adoption. Visit nateshonoranimalrescue.org to learn more and to find out what all of the animals need through Nate’s Amazon Wish List on their website or call 941-747-4900.