The following post is by Danelle Stoppel, Mental Health Volunteer for the American Red Cross Southeastern Pennsylvania Chapter
Several weeks ago, on a cold night at 2 AM, a family of nine lost their home to an electrical fire in West Philadelphia. When the American Red Cross arrived on the scene, the owner of the house was in her car making hotel arrangements with her insurance company. The family was not home during the fire, and at the last moment she had decided to take her dog, Excel, with her to a family event. She was highly emotional and spoke at length about her house and all the work that had been destroyed by the fire.
While she provided details about the events of the evening, the owner gently stroked Excel, who was cuddled up on the front seat. When she was informed that the hotel would not allow pets, she became very upset and began to cry. She was then offered the services of Red Paw Emergency Relief Team. When Jen arrived, the owner asked many questions about how her dog would be cared for until she was able to provide him with another home. When Excel was gently placed in Red Paw’s vehicle, she cried and kissed him goodbye. I have witnessed this many times over the past year as Red Paw provides gentle, caring support to families with pets during disaster responses in Philadelphia.
Pets are family.