Programs | Disaster
Like many other organizations, when Hurricane Katrina hit quickly followed by Hurricane Rita, Healing HEART Sanctuary Executive Director Laura Bradshaw began to manage all reunion-related animal transportation needs for Best Friends Animal Society. Literally hundreds of animals were transported back to New Orleans and reunited with their owners, or transported to other parts of the country where their owners had been relocated. Laura was recognized by Best Friends CEO Paul Berry for her related work.
Separately, in addition to extensive contributions related to the Katrina/Rita response, Board Member Laurel Ley is the HHS Field Manager, developed a transportation system and managed all transportation for Best Friends’ Celebration Station facility during January and February following the storms. Over a nine week period close to 2,000 animals were transported to various approved organizations. Laurel specifically took pride in the fact that animals sent to the receiving organizations could easily be accepted into their programs; less then a dozen were returned to Best Friends during that time due to an organization’s inability to accept a specific animal into their program.
It was through their separate activities that Laura and Laurel met, and began to coordinate their respective transportation responsibilities.
Following the closure of the Celebration Station facility, Laura and Laurel continued for many months to work on behalf of the animals and their owners affected by the storms. Most notably, they appealed to Best Friends’ CEO Paul Berry to extend financial support to the Waveland Animal Shelter, Hancock County, Mississippi resulting in hundreds of precious animal lives being saved as the area and facility recovered. The area had been particularly hard hit and had not received the level of support which New Orleans did.
As a result of Laura and Laurel’s involvement with Waveland, Precious’ situation was discovered by HHS; Best Friends’ agreed to take Precious into their Guardian Angel Program with Laura and HHS acting as the foster situation. Precious was flown to Salt Lake City where Laura picked her up and hand-carried her back to Kanab. Eventually it became clear that it was in Precious’ emotional best interest to remain as one of the Sanctuary Kids of Healing HEART Sanctuary as she fell in love with Helen, another resident. Additionally, she’s a perfect ambassador.
PetSmart Charities® Emergency Relief Waggin’®
Healing HEART Sanctuary is responsible for Field Services including the training, coordination, and management of the volunteer team for the PetSmart
Charities Emergency Relief Waggin’ program.
HHS Board Member
Laurel Ley is
the HHS Field Manager for the program. Working with the PetSmart
Charities Manager of Emergency Grants, Barbara Fought, Laurel has
been involved with the program since its inception helping to define
the program and its various elements.
Under the direction of HHS, volunteers meet each trailer to unload
the trailer, set up equipment (tents, generator, etc.) and tend
to other initial tasks for making the supplies ready for the responding
agency to use, such as setting up crates. These initial tasks
usually take between two to four days, not including travel. After
initial set up, a Team Leader may remain with the trailer
during the time of deployment to insure that supplies are off-loaded
and disbursed appropriately. At the end of the deployment, remaining
supplies will be inventoried in preparation for reloading and restocking. The
HHS team does not participate in the rescue of animals nor are
we a sheltering group. Most travel expenses related to participating
as a volunteer with the PCI ERW program are paid for in advance
The program’s first deployment was in response to a request from San Diego during the fires in October 2007. This deployment was followed two weeks later to the largest puppy mill closure ever, in Hillsville, Virginia affecting almost 1,000 animals. The volunteers who responded to both deployments had been trained during either the Louisiana training in March 2007 or the Florida training in June.
In 2008, the Healing HEART Sanctuary Volunteer Team has responded to eight deployments:
- January/February: Shelter closure in North Carolina
- March: Puppy mill/hoarding situation in Tucson
- June: Cedar Rapids floods
- June: Puppy mill closure in Tennessee
- July: Northern California fires
- August: West Virginia puppy mill
- August: Hurricane Gustav
- September: Hurricane Ike
From early-February through mid-August 2009, there have been
Our commitment is to providing an efficient level of support
for the Logistics team of any response. And as such, we must
choose volunteers based on their best ability to fulfill this
mission. The HHS volunteer team has developed the reputation
of efficiently getting the job done with a minimum of input needed
from the requesting agency.
All volunteers are required:
- To have ICS100 and IS700
- Be willing to follow ICS when deployed
with the team and any activities related to the volunteer team
comfortable with doing manual labor work sometimes in adverse
conditions such as hot or humid weather
- Meet certain physical
and health-related requirements, etc. such as the ability to
be able to lift 50 lbs repetitively for an extended period
- Have a broad availability throughout the year as well
as a reasonable number of days available, for maximum availability
across the entire team
- Be comfortable with not being able to
handle or touch animals
- Be flexible in often changing circumstances
which can result in having to redo work such as move crates
more than once
- Like the logistics side of disaster response
- Follow the paperwork requirements
of the program
- Be willing to adhere to the established Polices
- Available to attend an in-person training
- Be willing to follow the Policies & Procedures
are part of the Volunteer Manual and updated as needed
Trainings are held as needed to expand the HHS volunteer roster
but not more frequently than once a year; usually in the spring.
If you are interested in being considered to participate in a
future training, please sign
up on our newsletter form by checking
the box “HHS Disaster Response Volunteer Team – Upcoming
Training”. Please uncheck the default box which says “Any
news HHS wants to share” if you only want to receive information
on the volunteer team trainings.
For information on the program itself including how to request
a trailer, the information is available on the PetSmart
Charities website including the request form.
For additional information
on volunteering with the program, please contact Healing HEART
Sanctuary. For information on preparing for a disaster, check
out the pets information at the Ready.gov website.
help your community get prepared by promoting pet preparedness.
Disaster response is just another way that Healing HEART Sanctuary works to get animals and people back on their feet.