NEWINGTON â€“ Twenty-two dogs arrived at the Connecticut Humane Societyâ€™s Newington shelter this week after a long trip from Houston, Texas, where they were rescued from shelters devastated by Hurricane Harvey.
The pups underwent medical evaluations and treatment while under a 48-hour quarantine. CHS staff expects to begin opening up adoptions sometime next week.
â€śTheyâ€™ve been through a lot,â€ť Executive Director Gordon Willard said Tuesday after a busy morning.
A rescue team of trained professionals was deployed to the Lone Star State last week and left Houston Friday with the dogs in tow. They arrived back in Newington Monday night around 9 p.m.
â€śTheyâ€™re doing well after a very long truck ride,â€ť Willard added. â€śI think theyâ€™re enjoying the cooler weather. Theyâ€™re getting a chance to walk the grounds, stretch their legs; weâ€™re creating a bond with them.â€ť
Behaviorist Rebecca Meyer was among the staff who welcomed the animals in that night and got to know them throughout the week.
â€śA year ago we dealt with the flood dogs from the Carolinas, after Hurricane Matthew,â€ť Meyer said.
Treatment in both instances included walks outside and belly rubs.
The majority of dogs in this weekâ€™s group are shepherd and bull-terrier mixes, some of which were suffering from heartworm disease and other ailments upon arrival. All were isolated from the other animals at the shelter for a period of two days, a safety measure required by state law.
Local residents will be anxious to open their homes to these southern transplants, said Willard, who is asking people to be patient.
â€śI realize everybody is going to be interested in these animals in particular, but we want to stress that we wonâ€™t be rushing the process. We want people to understand what their needs are and make sure they will fit into their home.â€ť
He also emphasized that pets that were displaced from their homes are not part of the group, which came from an animal shelter in Galveston, Texas.
â€śThese animals were already given up and in need of homes. They are not lost pets whose owners will be looking for them once they get reestablished themselves.â€ť
A trained disaster-relief team was deployed over the weekend to help teams in Texas care for displaced pets and reunite them with their families.
â€śWeâ€™re gearing up to send a second team next week,â€ť Willard explained. â€śWeâ€™re doing what we have to do. The Houston ASPCA and Red Cross are heavily burdened right now. No one knows how big this is, but itâ€™s big.â€ť
To make a donation to help pets affected by Hurricane Harvey, visit https://secur.give2gether.com/projects/teamwork-in-texas/.
Erica Schmitt can be reached at 860-801-5097, or firstname.lastname@example.org.