It has been a crazy, scary, emotional couple of weeks with Hurricane Irma. The anxiety of anticipating her arrival and not knowing exactly how it would impact us was intense.
I’m glad we have such advanced weather technology that can tell us something will happen in our area days before it is expected so everyone can prepare. All that knowledge is a good thing, I guess, so bad weather doesn’t take anyone by surprise.
But it sure is nerve wracking waiting so long for the event to occur, especially while we’re still watching the terrible devastation from Hurricane Harvey. The underlying question through this whole process is “will we be safe?” You begin to wonder if your family and property will survive the historic storm.
Included in worrying if the family will be safe is concern about furry family members. If you recall, there was so much loss of life during Hurricane Katrina because people refused to evacuate their homes and leave their pets behind. At that time pets were not allowed in the emergency shelters so many pet parents made the decision to stay with their fur children. In many cases the results were tragic.
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For Hurricane Irma we began to see the outreach from the nice people in middle Georgia to help those evacuating from Florida with animals. There were people offering barns to board horses. We all saw the disturbing pictures of the damage Hurricane Harvey’s high water caused for horses who were stuck in it.
Other people were offering shelter and fenced yards for dogs, cats and bunnies. Some were even offering sanctuary for animals from Florida zoos.
There were acts of kindness everywhere. But there was one act of kindness that really touched my heart.
In the midst of all the anxiety of the storm, Coliseum Health System, which consists of Coliseum Medical Centers and Coliseum Northside Hospital, wanted to reduce the amount of fear employees might be experiencing about the storm. Since school was closed they offered to create a child care shelter so employees could bring their children to work.
If that weren’t considerate enough, both Coliseum Medical Centers and Coliseum Northside also opened a pet shelter so employees could bring treasured pets to work with them. This way employees would be physically close to their pets, knowing they were safe instead of home alone scared and completely in the dark with trees potentially falling on their homes.
The beauty of this very kind gesture showed me Coliseum cares about their patients, employees, kids and pets. Coliseum provided an environment during the hurricane where employees felt safe to bring who they love the most – their kids and pets. That way not only would everyone be safe, employees could be present at work able to focus on caring for patients.
Way to go Coliseum for taking a huge step in our community to show that pets are an important members of the family. The numerous animal lovers in our area and I appreciate you.
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