When Category 5 Hurricane Maria tore over Puerto Rico and the surrounding islands, it left an unimaginable amount of devastation and destruction in its wake. While organizations like FEMA and other charities have been working to provide clean water, food, shelter and provisions, as well as bring a small measure of normality back to the storm-beaten islanders, there has been another group in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean who were in need of help — the animals.
That’s where the organization Wings of Rescue comes in. They are a “donation based charity,” says their website, “flying large numbers of at risk, healthy pets long distances from high intake shelters to our network of no-kill shelters throughout the United States and Canada.” That operation goes on year-round, but when disaster strikes an area, it can be counted on to help rescue as many furry friends as possible.
“In Puerto Rico there are more stray dogs on the island than there are human inhabitants,” Wings of Rescue points out on its website. That created a desperate need for animal rescue during this year’s hurricane season, with huge storm systems hitting the region one after another, including hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Jose, Katia and now Maria.
Through The Animal Rescue Site and GreaterGood.org, donations have been coming in that are making it possible for volunteers from Wings of Rescue to fly at-risk animals from the islands to North America, where they can be cared for and eventually adopted into loving forever homes.
“This is what happens when Category 5 hurricanes come,” a member of Wings of Rescue says in the video below, which shows the devastation left on the islands. “But what’s more important is that all of you rallied together to save the people of the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and throughout the Caribbean with your donations to Wings of Rescue.”
Through donations and online fundraising, Wings of Rescue has been able to make constant flights in and out of the Caribbean, picking up animals in need on the islands and bringing them to shelters where they can be cared for with food, shelter, clean water and lots of love.
The rescue and relief efforts have been successful so far, but there is still so much more rebuilding to do and so many in need of assistance — both on two legs and four.
“We’ve all banded together to save pets,” the volunteer goes on to say in the video, “but we’re also bringing in humanitarian aid.”
In just one day, Wings of Rescue was able to bring 2.5 tons of water, food and other essentials to the islands hit by Hurricane Maria. That precious cargo of humanitarian aid was unloaded from airplanes to make room for more animals being flown to safety and security in North America.
The Animal Rescue Site and GreaterGood.org are continuing to raise money for partners like Wings of Rescue to help save every animal and help every needy person possible in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.
“We’re flying out of the Caribbean every day,” Wings of Rescue says, “as long as we have donations. So, please, keep us flying. We need to save pets like this. They’re scattered all over the Caribbean. …Until there’s no need, Wings of Rescue will be in the air, because that’s what we do.”
Watch the video below to see what’s happening on the ground in Puerto Rico and surrounding islands with Wings of Rescue!
Then click through to see how you can help Wings of Rescue continue their efforts in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean!
Jacob H. is an award-winning journalist and photojournalist who currently resides is West Michigan with his wife. In his spare time, Jacob enjoys writing, photography, mountain climbing, and camping.
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