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October 25, 2007

Talk Back: Gratitude and Grief

As firefighters continue to battle the inferno that has rampaged through Southern California, The HSUS Disaster Services team and San Diego County Animal Services have moved in to help rescue and shelter hundreds of animals. Readers responded to yesterday's blog post and to footage of the wildfires with an outpouring of support and concern. Among the comments we received:

Bless you for what you do!!! I have not stopped worrying about all the animals in the way of this horrendous fire, and knew that groups like yours would be there to help!!! I am a Southern California transport and know how devastating these winds can be, and I just thank you for helping these sweet, defenseless creatures. —Gayle Morris

Wayne: Thanks for putting together this post and for all The HSUS is doing in SoCal as we speak. My parents nearly lost their home in Fallbrook last night. The fire passed through their neighborhood, burning vegetation right on their property but sparing the house. Neighbors moved their horses, goats, chickens and other pets out ahead of the fire, thank goodness. My wife is a horse trainer and we have a horse. I can’t imagine the drama and stressful nature around moving horses under such scary conditions. Thank you HSUS for being there to help. —Jeff Lennan

As I watch the TV cameras scan the evacuees at QUALCOMM Stadium and other shelters I am struck by the number of dogs, cats and even a few birds safe with their people. The animals are calm—not creating a fuss as predicted by those who have for years opposed sheltering pets with their humans in times of disaster. These pictures and video are proof it can work and there is no excuse to leave the animals behind. I'm proud to have been part of lobbying to make it possible. I also feel for the loss of all those homes but most have been able to get out with their families—all of their family. —Dolores Williams

I saw an image on CNN today of a horse running frantically with the flames raging in the background and just received an email from The HSUS with more horrific pictures. My wife and I have a small website for women who love horses and posted a message with links to The HSUS site and articles. We also made a donation and posted a “donate now” link on our site. We're brainstorming with our members to see if there's anything we can do together to help! —Josh Bevan

So glad that you are there! When I retire I swear I will try to join one of your disaster teams. For now all I can do is help with donations and other small things. —Nancy Deyarmie

My 6-year-old son's first response to hearing about the wildfires was: "What will happen to all the animals?" Even before reading this report, I told him The Humane Society [of the United States] would take care of them. He declared that when he was old enough, he would be in the Humane Society, too. You have a young warrior waiting in the wings! —Lisa J

My heart just ached for the horses that were set free as I watched them run frantically from the fires. I hope they will be recaptured and brought to safety soon. Thanks for all your help. —Karen Sample

I wish I could help. We are retired and living on a very fixed income. We can help with prayers for all that are involved and the animals that are suffering. —Judy

These people are heroes! I hope that I can work hard enough now to dedicate the second half of my life to nonprofit work. I am also glad that people were at least smart enough to allow their animals out of their pens with the hopes that they will find safety. Best of luck to all of you with your work! —Adam

Thank you for all your help to the animals. I am happy to live in a country where we can fight for the animals and humans. I appreciate this network. —Karen

I am doing all I can at the moment. My life itself is in crisis but still I manage to find the time to speak for the ones who cannot speak for themselves. Our animal brothers and sisters, I will do anything to protect them. I hope one day to stand at Wayne's side in this effort. For now, my regret is not being able to be there on site. Although I am 110% there in spirit and in all I do for animals. —Denise D. Vanaria

Thanks so much for all you do for all animals and wildlife in peril and for encouraging pet owners to have a plan in place in case of emergency or natural disaster. All of you at The HSUS do great work and there are many of us who love God's creatures that thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Keep up the great work and although I don't have much to give, I'll be sending a donation your way. Thank you. —Lynn, Olympia, WA

I am so glad you are there to assist. All those animals will need your help. Thanks for all you do to help those that cannot help themselves during this terrible crisis. —Teri LeFrois

Note: If you are interested in volunteer opportunities with The HSUS National Disaster Animal Response Team, more information is available here.

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