Is anyone else completely consumed with the coverage on Hurricane Harvey in south Texas? Even after watching the news for days, I cannot un-glue my eyes from the television or social media coverage.
My heart is especially drawn to the pets and livestock affected by the storm. Helpless and voiceless, they are completely reliant on humans for help. And for the most part, our human efforts have been astounding. When I see these images and videos, I cannot help but picture my own horses swimming for their life. I’m not sure that my Rusty could keep his head above water for long. Or, when I see a dog huddled on top of a car surrounded by water, I see my Max and Partner in their eyes. My heart breaks for them over and over. Like most people, I wish I could physically help the victims, human and animal alike.
If I could swim to every dog, every cat, and every horse-I absolutely would.
Sometimes it’s best to jump in and help hands-on in a crises, but unfortunately that’s not always a possibility, nor is it always helpful. I do believe, however, that as a horsewoman, I have a responsibility to help my fellow horse owners.
In an effort to help from home, I’ve compiled a list of highly-respected organizations seeking aid:
Quarter Horse News: The QHN website has an excellent list of needs for individuals, as well as organizations accepting monetary donations. I love that their list includes specific individuals needing direct help with evacuating horses. They provide a name and phone number, as well as the number of horses on the premises. Doing this allows direct communication, making an expedient rescue more possible, rather than going through several contacts before helping the actual victim. Not only does this website list specific evacuation needs, it also lists individuals ready to help. People from all over the country are offering barn and pasture space, hay and provisions, and even volunteering their ranch cowboys to evacuate livestock. The outpouring of generosity from the horse community seen on this website brings tears to my eyes.
The United States Equestrian Federation: The USEF has long been a respectable equine organization, and one can be assured that if you donate monetarily to their relief fund, the money will be efficiently used to aid horses of all breeds and their owners. The USEF Equine Disaster Relief Fund was started after Hurricane Rita and Katrina, lending this organization much experience in the way of relief for horses after natural disasters, like Hurricane Harvey.
The American Association of Equine Practitioners: Who better to trust with these special horses than equine veterinarians? The AAEP has a disaster relief fund that is easily contributed to through their website. This fund will wisely distribute funds to pertinent organizations and programs directly aiding equine victims from the hurricane, and their owners. As of August 29th, the AAEP is not accepting supplies, but they are waiting to assess what local veterinarians and programs will need to directly help horses in the Texas and Louisiana areas.
There are many more ways to help that can be found in numerous Facebook groups and equine clubs and organizations. I implore you to find a way to help. As horse people, we have the responsibility and privilege to aid our horsey neighbors and their equine companions.