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Rescuing Nelly from Hurricane Irma

When disaster hits, pets and stray animals are left especially vulnerable. Some run away, frightened by the chaos. Others are unfortunately left behind as their families evacuate or head to shelters and temporary housing with a No Pets policy.

Hurricane Irma sent one little black and white kitten on a harrowing journey to her new beginning.

Nelly at the Shelter.

Like so many structures in the Florida Keys, the shelters of the Florida Keys SPCA were damaged by flooding and fallen trees. They were left with no electricity, no phone service, no internet access and suffered a shortage of supplies when the storm destroyed staples like bedding and common medicines. GreaterGood.org is honored to have granted funds to the Florida Keys SPCA to help them rebuild. 

Animals that had been in the shelter’s care before the storm were placed with approved foster families to hunker down or evacuate to the north, while employees and volunteers worked tirelessly to rescue and care for displaced animals on the island.

Some pets were in sound structures, and volunteers were able to care for them in the comfort of their own homes. Lost and injured animals were brought into the shelter or handed over to the care of Staff Veterinarian Dr. Dunn at his home, where he, fortunately, had a generator (though he lacked air conditioning, running water, and phone service!).

Nelly is one lucky kitten who made her way into the doctor’s care.

Nelly when she was first rescued.

It was a week after the storm hit when a Good Samaritan made his way to the shelter doors. He’d discovered a small kitten hiding beneath a battered trailer home but hadn’t been able to catch her.

Shelter manager, Jen Showalter, sprung into action. She arrived at the trailer to find the small, injured kitten cowering underneath it. Catching the cat was anything but easy, but after crawling under the trailer and patiently earning the animal’s trust, Jen was able to pull her out and get a good look at her.

It quickly became clear that the kitten was dehydrated, and her pain seemed the result of a badly broken back leg.

Once in Dr. Dunn’s care, he was able to fix her up and set her leg to heal, and the kitten traveled back to the shelter to rest and recover.

Nelly making herself at home.

The three-month-old kitten is in good hands and recovering at the shelter, where the volunteers are showering her with affection and have decided to call her Nelly.

More animals like Nelly need your help. It only takes you to make all the difference. Please click here to save other pets in need.

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