As residents of North and South Carolina – and soon Maryland and Virginia – struggle to deal with the heavy rains and rising flood waters caused by Hurricane Florence, it’s not only humans who need our assistance. So do many animals in these communities. Whether you live near the disaster-struck areas or across the other side of the country, there are many things you can do to help:

Donate to Shelters

Right now, North and South Carolina animal shelters and rescue organizations are most in need of donations – preferably money – to pay for supplies, resources and in some cases, transport of adoptable animals to shelters in towns away from the floods. Even the smallest of donations will help these organizations continue to do their life-saving work. Many also have set up Amazon wish lists, which makes purchasing and shipping supplies that much easier. Here are just a few organizations you may want to consider donating to:

Brother Wolf Animal Rescue has been transporting adoptable animals out of harm’s way from shelters in South Carolina. They’ve also been moving animals out of their adoption center in Ashville and into foster homes. Make a donation here.

Charleston Animal Society is assisting with pet evacuations across South Carolina. Donate here.

The Humane Society of Charlotte is helping care for the animals they’ve taken in from the coast – and they’re expecting more. Donate here.

Donate to National Pet Welfare Organizations

Also, consider supporting national animal welfare groups. They will be providing the large-scale help these flooded communities need, such as feet on the ground, rescue boats and trucks, temporary shelters, and much-needed supplies, for an extended period of time.

The most recognizable organizations aiding in these large-scale rescue efforts include:

The Humane Society www.humanesociety.org.

ASPCA www.aspca.org.

Best Friends Animal Society https://bestfriends.org/hurricane-florence.

Adopt or Foster a Homeless Shelter Pet

Another great way you can help if you live near a shelter or rescue organization that has been affected by Hurricane Florence is to adopt a pet or become a pet foster parent. During natural disasters, many families drop off their pets at their local shelter temporarily until they can return home. As a result, many shelters are at capacity with stretched resources, and the homeless animals available for adoption run the risk of being euthanized so there’s space for house pets. If you’ve been thinking about adopting a pet, now’s a great time to do it. Plus many of these shelters are waiving or reducing adoption fees. If you’re not able to adopt, consider fostering one or more cats or dogs until the shelter can take them back – or they find their fur-ever home.

Volunteer

Most shelters need extra volunteers during natural disasters. Call them first so that your time can be scheduled and put to the best use. If you can help transport animals from the Southeast to shelters in safe, flood-free areas, sign up at http://www.doobert.com/florence/. Or make a donation to Wings of Rescue. This amazing team of pilots will be flying shelter pets from flooded areas to their partners across the country. (They normally fly pets from overcrowded, high intake shelters to shelters with plenty of empty kennel space and adopters waiting.)

And Finally…Put a Pet Disaster Preparedness Plan in Place

Natural disasters such as Hurricane Florence are always a good time to review your family’s (four-legged members included) natural disaster preparedness plan. If you don’t have one in place yet, read some great “disaster planning for pets” tips and check out our list to help you prepare a pet disaster preparedness kit.