Animals sent off safely as Hurricane Florence approaches

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Click the play button to watch a video of the Maggie Society's animal transport transfer.
Drew C. Wilson | Times

In a coordinated effort between animal organizations in advance of Hurricane Florence, 21 dogs and nine cats fostered by volunteers in the Maggie Society are headed for adoption in Pennsylvania.

The two groups have organized numerous trips to free up local foster volunteers for an anticipated influx of animals as a result of the storm.

“Without them, we wouldn’t move a quarter of the dogs that we move,” said Laurie Robl Brumfield, of the Maggie Society Canine Rescue, Rehabilitation and Education. “We have no spay and neuter laws down here and they do up north. While we might do 30 local adoptions a month here, they do 230. Dogs that we can’t give away here, that we work on adoptions for months for, it takes them literally 24 hours to find a home up there, so it is super important for us to partner with them so we have an outlet for the majority of these dogs.”

Amy Myers, president of Horsham, Pennsylvania-based Wags Rescue and Referral, said her organization has been working with the Maggie Society for seven years.

“We come down once a month. We call them our sister organization. That’s the way we feel,” Myers said. “The dogs of Wilson are in our hearts. Knowing that the hurricane is coming, the shelters are going to be overburdened. We try to come down ahead of it so we can clear out our fosters down here so then they can then take the overflow. They will go up to foster homes in the north and then on the back end of the hurricane there is someplace for the dogs to go.”

Myers said the effort takes a lot of paperwork from veterinarians and state agencies on both ends.

“Years and years have taught us the best way to do this,” Myers said.

Vickie Thompson of Wilson brought a puppy named Valentina.

“I have been with the Maggie Society for years,” Thompson said. “It’s very coordinated. We bring the dogs. They get on the van. The next morning we get to see adoption pictures. Because I have been here for 26 years, I did Floyd and Fran and know that the dogs are a huge risk at this time and in this weather, so it’s nice to know that a lot are going out before the weather gets here so the shelters have space for the ones that are found.”

Another foster parent, Pamela Small, gave a goodbye kiss and hug to Piers, a dog she had fostered in Wilson.

“That is the best dog,” said Small. “My father always said, ‘If you see a problem and you don’t do something about it, you are part of the problem.’ This is the best organization.”

Brumfield said about 40 volunteers played various roles in taking care of the animals before their departure.

“It takes a huge village to make it happen,” Brumfield said. “Now we can go get ready for the hurricane. We feel better knowing that they are safe. It’s not OK to evacuate and leave your lets behind.”

The organization is always looking for additional fosters.

The Maggie Society can be reached by calling 252-292-6305 or by visiting www.themaggiesociety.com.