Take a heartwarming behind the scenes look at the lifesaving work happening 'round the clock inside our Kitten Nursery.
Tucked away in the back corner of St. Hubert's Animal Welfare Center is a small room in which miracles happen every week, if not on a daily basis. The gentle hum of nebulizers and incubators can be heard alongside calming music in the otherwise quiet room, until a chorus of squeaky meows takes over at each feeding time.
Welcome to the Kitten Nursery, otherwise known as the neonatal intensive care unit, or NICU.
Lucas arrived at the Kitten Nursery unresponsive, covered in maggots and totally emaciated. "It was crazy how skinny he was," said nursery manager Samantha Friedman, who has been a veterinary technician for approximately 18 years.
He was found lying on the side of a driveway, alone. His eyes were infected and scarred from being eaten by maggots.
Following three weeks of intensive care, his infections are gone. He still spends his days in an incubator, and goes home with Friedman at night because he's still being bottle-fed and needs to eat every four hours.
"Now he's a thriving, robust fatty boy," said Friedman. "I already have several people interested in (adopting) him, but he has another month to go."
'Fight for the little guys'
The Kitten Nursery opened in April, three years after the idea was born. Friedman had gotten in trouble for parking in the fire zone because she was bringing 10 carriers of sick or neonatal kittens to her home at night and bringing them back each morning for her next shift.
"We can't rely on me and two other vet techs to shlep them home and stay up all night," she said, describing how the idea came about. "We're St. Hubert's, let's have a nursery."
Friedman spoke with former president Heather Cammisa, and together with other staff members and volunteers, got the ball of yarn rolling to "fight for the little guys," the motto Friedman uses for the nursery.
The kittens here need around-the-clock neonatal care, which includes multiple feedings each day and medications to treat illnesses such as upper respiratory infections and anemia.
"The mortality rate of kittens that are too young to be adopted in shelters is very high," said Friedman. "Most shelters don't have the resources or time to put into it, so a lot of these kittens don't make it."
Now that St. Hubert's has this facility, they are able to pull kittens from partner shelters and provide the care they would not otherwise receive. South Jersey can get very overwhelmed with kittens, said Friedman, and there are currently two kittens in the nursery from South Jersey Regional Animal Shelter in Vineland.
In the six months since the Kitten Nursery has been open, 275 underage and critical kittens have come through, with a 90 to 95 percent success rate.
There are three incubators and 11 cages in the nursery, although at times two of the cages may be joined together to make a larger space for a feral cat and her kittens. An incubator is used to maintain a kitten's body temperature, which a neonatal or sick kitten is unable to do on its own. These specialized incubators, which cost approximately $800 each, also have adjustable humidity levels, which helps them breathe, and built-in nebulizers to pump in much needed medication.
"The whole thing is filled with steam or their medication, they're breathing it in and they don't even know. It's totally stress-free," said Friedman. "This is the coolest thing ever."
It's not just neonatal kittens who are treated in the nursery -- there are some older kittens that need specialized care as well.
Smokey, who is about 3 months old, was brought in by a woman doing TNR.
"He was emaciated, I mean, skin and bones, the worst fleas, his gums were just pale white, he wouldn't eat, he had a severe upper respiratory infection," said Friedman. "He had all the things wrong with him."
The fleas caused anemia so severe that his internal organs have been affected. He has an enlarged spleen and swollen intestines, which in turn has made his belly large.
"He is very slowly but surely making baby steps," she said. "He just needs time."
Feral moms and their kittens
The nursery can also accommodate feral cat moms and their kittens by turning two single cages into one double unit. This allows the staff and volunteers to "shush" the momma to one side -- as a stray, they're not usually friendly enough to be handled -- in order to clean the cage and provide necessary care for the kittens.
Once the kittens are old enough to go into foster care, the mom is spayed and usually returned to her community, or if she was found in an unsafe location, they will search for a new home, such as a barn, to place her at.
"It's really interesting to watch these feral moms with their babies," said Friedman. "As much as they don't want to be social with people, given the chance to just be in a relaxing environment where you leave them alone, they are the most terrific mothers."
There are times when Friedman stays overnight in the Kitten Nursery when cases come in that are super-critical. While she can take home the stabilized kittens which still require care during the nighttime hours, there are times when kittens are too weak to be moved.
"We work our butts off to save them, and the volunteers are a huge thing," she said. The volunteers help clean the cages, assist with animal care, and anything else that needs to be done.
When the chores of the shift are done -- with as many as 30 to 40 kittens in the nursery at one time, it can seem as if they're never really done -- there is a special time that everyone enjoys: kitten cuddle time. The volunteers and staff sit around in their gowns, and hold the kittens who are not super-critical, giving them love and affection. They also use a toothbrush -- which simulates their mother's tongue -- to pet them, and it helps the kittens relax and de-stress, which helps them heal faster.
"We really dote on these guys, which helps them survive."
Friedman and St. Hubert's is always searching for more volunteers. "I could not do this without them ... They have been angels for me."
Grundgetta, the trash can kitty
Grundgetta and her sibling arrived in the nursery after being found in a garbage can.
"Somebody threw them away," said Friedman.
While her sibling did not survive the ordeal, Grundgetta -- who was named after Oscar the Grouch's girlfriend -- is experiencing her own little miracle. She receives subcutaneous fluids to help with dehydration, and still sometimes needs to be fed with a syringe, but is on her way to having a bright future.
How you can help
Volunteers are always welcomed in the Kitten Nursery, as well as other departments at St. Hubert's Animal Welfare Center. There is always a need for more fosters who can care for kittens as they grow old enough to be spayed or neutered and await adoption. If you don't have time to give, but still want to help, check out the Kitten Nursery's Amazon.com wishlist. You can also donate items at the shelter or make a monetary donation.
(July 9, 2019) – The Humane Rescue Alliance of Washington, DC, and St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center of Madison, New Jersey, announced today that the organizations are merging to create the first regional, community-based, multi-state animal welfare organization in the nation.
The combined group will provide direct rescue and care of animals in need, cruelty investigations and local animal control services, robust regional community support programs that allow pets to stay with their families, and a premier transport program that invests in partner communities to solve pet overpopulation sustainably and nationwide. The merger will leverage and export the strengths of its founding organizations, which rest on the professional competence of their staffs and the depths of their roots in their communities.
Lisa LaFontaine, President and CEO of the Humane Rescue Alliance and a nationally-recognized leader in animal welfare, will lead the combined organization as President and CEO.
“By unifying two industry-leading organizations, we are building an alliance that can tackle the systemic challenges facing animals in our region and beyond, with the goal of saving more lives,” said LaFontaine.
In 2016, LaFontaine oversaw the merger of the Washington Humane Society and Washington Animal Rescue League, resulting in the formation of the Humane Rescue Alliance – the first unified organization in a major urban area to provide all the animal welfare programs and services to the community.
“The merger of WHS and WARL was never a final destination. Rather, it was an expression of the imperative that animal welfare organizations must work more collaboratively, and rather than compete, they should share a sense of responsibility for the overall population of vulnerable animals,” LaFontaine added. “The future of animal welfare is about cooperation, consolidation, a deepening of community support, and the sensible balancing of resources and animal populations between partnering animal welfare groups.”
St. Hubert’s WayStation program has emerged as a best-in-class animal transport program, creating unprecedented collaboration among shelter organizations to address animal population disparities between communities, and to provide a critical lifeline in times of natural and manmade disasters. The combined organization will invest further in the WayStation program and will continue to connect communities that have extra capacity for placing and caring for homeless animals with communities where animal overpopulation remains a significant problem. The WayStation program is a vehicle for animal welfare groups to increase their collective capacity to address the challenges facing people and animals in their respective communities.
According to LaFontaine, “By enriching the organizations on both ends of animal transports, we can weave a safety net for animals in every corner of the country. Today is a happy day for HRA, St. Hubert’s, and our 60 plus partner organizations throughout the nation.”
The merger was initiated by conversations between LaFontaine and Heather Cammisa, the long-time CEO of St. Hubert’s whose vision and dedication enabled the organization to become a regional powerhouse. It has been approved by unanimous votes of both the HRA and St. Hubert’s boards of directors, and the organizations have been working at the leadership level for the past several months to lay the groundwork for a smooth and efficient combination.
For more information, read LaFontaine’s blog here: http://www.humanerescuealliance.org/lisa-blog.
Update: June 27th
It’s been over two weeks since the rescue of 188 dogs from a property in Hunterdon County. In this short amount of time we’ve seen so much progress in each of them. So far we’ve adopted out 15 of the Parson Russell Terriers to loving homes and still have 28 of them in our care. Check out the story of Bo, the first dog adopted from the rescue!
After physical and behavioral evaluations on every dog, we were able to select the canines we’ve felt were ready to be transported to other organizations and be placed for adoption. We happily accepted assistance from many wonderful organizations throughout New Jersey and up the East Coast. Below are our partners who welcomed Parson Terriers into their care over the last two weeks:
A big thank you to our partners at Massachusetts SPCA (MSPCA) and Dakin Humane Society, Springfield, MA who both sent skilled medical teams down the day the dogs were removed. We also want to thank our friends at RedRover who deployed volunteers to help our staff with cleaning, caring for and socializing the dogs. We also greatly appreciate the Morris County Animal Response Team (MCART) and the Morris County Office of Emergency Management for coming to the rescue with the emergency shelters and generators as well as individual dog housing equipment.
We couldn’t have done this without the help of all these wonderful organizations!
What a Difference a Couple of Days Makes!
Update: June 14th
Today, our behavior team started introducing the dogs to a variety of tastes and scents including peanut butter and cream cheese. Each day they make progress and we are so happy to see their personalities shining through. When dogs come from situations like this rescue in Hunterdon County, they’ve often never experienced the simple joys in life. Walking on the grass, playing with toys and indulging in treats are all new to them.
We anticipate some of the dogs being available for adoption tomorrow, June 15th, at our Madison Shelter. Check out our adoption process here https://www.sthuberts.org/adoption-process. We open for adoptions from Noon-6pm.
Take a look at all of our adoptable pets here https://www.sthuberts.org/animals-available-for-adoption
Dogs From Emergency Rescue Settling In
Update: June 13th
THANK YOU! We are overwhelmed by the response from our community to help us care for the dogs rescued from Hunterdon County this week. Your support has helped us provide nutritious food, comfortable bedding, vaccinations, medications and grooming to each dog in our care. After giving them some time to settle in, our team has begun assessing each dog’s behavioral needs. Many have spent time outside in the fresh air with our staff as we get to know each of their personalities. We are so grateful to have them safe in our arms, and thankful for YOU! As they become available for adoption within the next two weeks, we will post updates.
If you’d like to make a tax deductible contribution to their care, visit our Facebook Fundraiser go.sthuberts.org/emergencydogrescue or on our secure website: sthuberts.org/dogrescue2019. We are also in need of clean blankets and towels, along with canned dog food, treats and toys. Our Amazon Wish List can be found here: https://www.amazon.com/…/…/ls/28KLTV0S98CQY/ref=as_li_ss_tl….
St. Hubert’s Rescues 188 Dogs
St. Hubert’s was on site today at an undisclosed location effecting the removal of a large number of small dogs from the property following the service of a warrant by a Humane Law Enforcement Officer this morning. St. Hubert’s was asked to provide its expertise in both the removal and the triage, emergency sheltering and care of the dogs which initial estimates indicate may well number more than one hundred. As access to the property has just been gained we do not yet have a better answer as to the total number of animals and their condition. Staff and volunteers have spent the last 72 hours working nonstop to prepare for their arrival. We know that all will be in need of vaccination, deworming and spay/neuter. We anticipate discovering medical issues at a variety of levels. We urgently need your help to provide the basic level of care they need and deserve for these unexpected arrivals. Please consider a donation, which will be matched under our current Matching Gift Challenge. As soon as we have additional information and authorization to release it we will be sure to keep you updated. Many of our followers will remember that this rescue is occurring almost exactly three years after the early June rescue of almost 300 small dogs in Howell Township New Jersey.
Assistance Provided for Six Months Will End April 30
Madison, NJ (April 15, 2019) St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center has extended its agreement with the City of Newark to provide emergency sheltering service for lost and stray animals rescued by the City’s Animal Control through April 30, 2019, after which The City will use alternate housing for its animals. St. Hubert’s responded to a crisis situation in Newark in early November and agreed to provide services through December 31, 2018. The Center has twice extended that deadline to provide city officials with additional time to identify intermediate and long-term permanent arrangements for the shelter and care of its homeless animal population.
“St. Hubert’s cares deeply for the animals and residents of Newark and is pleased that we’ve been able to extend our assistance from 60 days to 6 months, though we have explained to The City during our ongoing meetings that we cannot continue to absorb the financial hardship it places on our organization, ” said St. Hubert’s Interim President Erika Mathews. It is not sustainable for St. Hubert’s to continue to provide service from our shelter facilities. The homeless animals in Newark will be best served by a centrally located facility that can provide ample resources and care.”
St. Hubert’s is committed to continuing its outreach work in the Newark community, regularly supporting Newark pet parents in need through its pet food/supplies bank services, free vaccination clinics and spay/neuter assistance.
Mathews stated that since November 2018 through mid-April, St. Hubert’s has provided intake and care for 1,016 Newark animals, many of whom needed extensive emergency or routine medical care. During free clinics offered in Newark 447 pets received their annual vaccinations/microchips and more than 375 dogs and cats have been provided with spay/neuter surgery through St. Hubert’s at no cost to residents or The City.
“The experience and insight St. Hubert’s has gained in serving Newark these last 173 days will enable us to support The City with input and guidance as it develops its best practice long-term program to meet the community’s needs,” said Mathews. “We would like to be a part of that permanent program if a financially sustainable, comprehensive and multi-faceted solution can be reached with The City.”
Any questions regarding Newark’s animal sheltering plans after April 30 should be directed to City officials.
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ABOUT ST. HUBERT'S ANIMAL WELFARE CENTER
Founded in 1939, St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the humane treatment of animals. Its services to the community include pet adoption and animal rescue, humane education, a pet helpline, pet training, professional educationand pet loss support. St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center has shelters in Madison, North Branch, and Ledgewood, NJ and its dog training and behavior school in Madison. For more information about St. Hubert’s, visit www.sthuberts.org or contact the Madison shelter at (973) 377-2295, the North Branch shelter at (908) 526-3330, the Ledgewood shelter at (973) 347-5469.
St. Hubert’s was asked to assist in the rescue of a large number of dogs in Burlington County on Wednesday, November 14 and along with some of our partner organizations our team was on scene all day. Our experienced staff assisted with the removal and transport of more than 150 dogs from one location. While the dogs have been surrendered and will be able to be placed in new homes soon, this is an open case and we cannot provide any information about the site or the case itself. What we can tell you is that we have welcomed 44 of the dogs to our shelters and we will provide them with whatever each needs individually before they go to new homes. To do that we need your help to support these deserving newcomers. If you can, please make a special gift for their care or view our wish list of supplies that you can send directly to our shelter. If you have blankets and towels you can donate please bring them to any of our shelters—we are always in need of those. If you can open your heart and home to foster a dog please contact our Foster Care Coordinator Steve at firstname.lastname@example.org
As the agency providing animal rescue and control for The Borough of South Bound Brook, St. Hubert’s was called for assistance on Wednesday afternoon, October 23. During an eviction process, multiple cats were discovered inside an apartment. Our animal control officers arrived on scene and removed 39 cats, carefully searching the premises to be certain all were located and moved to safety. They will of course check again tomorrow just to be absolutely certain none in hiding are left behind. Thankfully the caretaker was able to understand the seriousness of the crisis and agreed to sign custody of the cats over to St Hubert’s. While the majority of the kitties are friendly and seek human attention they are in pretty rough shape, many appearing to be suffering from untreated upper respiratory infections and they are badly undernourished. The medical team is in overdrive and cats are being individually examined. Vaccination and treatments are underway. It’s already obvious to the team that all of them are going to require acute medical care, a nutritious feeding regimen and spay/neuter at the least before they will be ready for adoption. These new arrivals in dire straits so soon after this summer’s rescue of 193 cats in similar condition means our resources for their care are depleted. We need your help to ensure we can provide these deserving little ones everything they’ll need to bring them back to good health and happiness. Please make a special gift towards the care and healing of this special group.
On July 24 a housing inspector in Union County investigating a complaint observed two dogs in cages on the back porch of the residence. Local Animal Control was called in and discovered a total of 14 dogs inside the apartment. Due to the terribly neglected condition of the dogs the Union County animal Cruelty Task Force was called in. Task force member Jeff Eyre, St. Hubert’s Director of Operations, and Animal Control Officers Pam Fyfe and Nina Cochran responded to the scene to assist with documentation and removal of the animals. Their owner agreed to give the dogs up so that they could get the care and sheltering they needed and be placed in good homes. Elizabeth Animal Services welcomed seven of the dogs and St. Hubert’s agreed to take the other seven.
Much like the group of poodles we helped last year, these small curly coated dogs had not received the necessary grooming in a very, very long time—their coats were so matted that they were trapped in what amounts to fur straitjackets, hot and terribly uncomfortable. The first order of business was to provide sedation and meticulously cut and clip the damp, odorous fur so that they could move and eliminate comfortably. Underneath their skin was redness and irritation, and some had urine burns on their legs and feet. Thankfully, now that they are dry and the areas can be kept clean and medicated their skin will heal. All of them have been neutered here in our clinic. Some are going to need some dental work and other attention to ensure they are in tip-top shape. They were timid at first, both because of all they’d been through and also because it seems that they’ve not had lots of social interaction. Happily they all responded quickly to kindness, patience and St. Hubert’s special TLC and are a sweet little group of guys. We expect them to be available for adoption very soon. A gift towards the care of these special little dogs can be made below.
Update - 8/1/2018
The final count of cats from the ongoing emergency rescue is 193. Our team reports that they are confident that no cats remain on the property so daily visits have ceased. They will of course continue with periodic surveillance to be certain no kitty is left behind. We understand that the property owner is receiving some help in cleaning up the area so as not to attract additional animals. The cats in our care continue to improve. A few are getting comfortable in there new homes and more than thirty of them have been welcomed to new barn/farm locations where they are settling in nicely. The team has gotten to know them and watch firsthand as they blossom—from wary, frightened, uncomfortable behavior into relaxed, serene or playful kitties exhibiting “normal” feline activities like seeking human attention, investigating their surroundings and grooming themselves. All have been spayed/neutered and many are ready for adoption at both our Noah’s Ark Campus and the Madison shelter. Some will make nice house pets and others are available to barn/farm type homes. We are grateful to some of our shelter partners who have welcomed cats from St. Hubert’s to their adoption programs to help us with space for this large, unexpected group—partnerships make it possible for us to assist more animals. Special gifts to help with the unanticipated costs of caring for these deserving cats can be made here. Thanks to all who have already lent their support.
St. Hubert’s Responds To Feline Emergency During Heat Wave--176 Rescued
Update - 7/13/2018
The rescued cats are making wonderful progress. The Noah’ Ark Campus is dedicated to their care and cannot currently welcome visitors. All pets for adoption are housed at Madison, North Branch and Everyday Adoption Center inside PetSmart Mt. Olive and are available during regular adoption hours.
It’s wonderful to see the kitties from the Sussex location relaxing, seeking human attention and looking happier and healthier with each passing day. Easy access to good nutritious food and clean housing, not to mention being parasite free and having their medical needs addressed, is allowing them to return to “normal” feline behaviors. Some are enjoying playing with toys, probably for the first time ever and individual personalities are becoming more evident.
Spay/neuter has been completed for about a third of the group and surgeries are taking place daily. Eight of the cats have just been transferred to Madison and are available for adoption. On Friday, July 13 the first few pairs were delivered to their new farm homes—we’re lucky to have additional homes waiting for some of the others once they are ready.
With aroma therapy ongoing, soothing classical music and enriching human interaction throughout the day all of them--from the adolescents to the sweet, stately seniors—continue to blossom. We’re so grateful for the support of our wonderful community in order to be able to ensure that each and every one gets whatever it is that he/she needs to become whole again. Click here to make a special gift for their care.
It’s also important to remember the human component to cases like this one. Simply removing animals does not solve the problem and recidivism is almost always 100 percent without effective intervention. Hoarding is a complex issue and must be addressed with compassion and understanding with mental health professionals. St. Hubert’s is committed to working with all agencies and officials to examine the human health component and find ways to provide services to individuals as well as the animals. We’re grateful to NJTV’s Brenda Flanagan for visiting the cats and insightfully addressing the issue.
We anticipate it will be several more weeks before all of the cats are ready for their new homes. We encourage those who can provide barn/farm type homes to email St. Hubert’s at email@example.com and provide a phone number so that we can reach out as the cats become ready to move to permanent homes. We prefer to place them in pairs or small groups. There are still a few more cats at the original location and our field team is on site daily to be sure that all are rescued.
Center Rescues 172 Cats From Dire Situation
St. Hubert’s has taken on an emergency cat rescue operation larger than any one we’ve previously undertaken and needs the support of the community to assist us caring for these most needy newest temporary residents.
As June drew to a close, St. Hubert’s was asked to assist with the rescue, sheltering and rehoming of what was initially thought to be up to 100 cats unconfined on a rural property in Sussex County. One of the original caretakers of the cats passed away within the last few years and the other elderly resident became overburdened and unable to provide care for them. The home and property have fallen into disrepair, now without electricity or running water. We were advised that over the years some cats had been removed from the site but the situation was never fully resolved and so the number continued to grow.
With the cooperation of the property owner and concerned neighbors St. Hubert’s agreed to take custody and responsibility for the cats, originally intending to remove them in small groups over a period of time while providing food and water to those awaiting relocation. Upon assessing the situation on site and with an intense heat wave beginning, it was determined that the majority of the cats were undernourished, a number of them also exhibiting symptoms of illness and/or injury. Plans were made to mobilize immediately to rescue the cats. A staging area for intake and triage/treatment was set up quickly at the Madison shelter and an additional staff member, experienced in trap/neuter/return and apprehending cats in difficult situations was added to the team in order to expedite getting the cats to safety.
Due to the oppressive heat, the field team was on site at dawn beginning on June 26 and also worked late into the evening to gather up the cats and bring them to Madison where the medical and care teams tended to their needs. As the week went on and cats were transported it became apparent that the individual estimate of 100 was conservative—172 cats have been welcomed to St. Hubert’s to date and the field team remains vigilant at the site to be certain none will be left behind.
All of the cats rescued have been vaccinated, dewormed, treated for fleas and spay/neuter is being provided. Some are being treated for illness or injury of varying severity, while others are expected to be available for rehoming soon. Responsible farm/barn homes will be sought for those cats unable able to transition to living as indoor house pets.
In order to accommodate this large group and to provide them with a calm, comforting environment as they recover we have re-organized the space at our Noah’s Ark Campus to serve as the emergency cat shelter. Animals from Noah’s have been temporarily moved to our other shelters in Madison, North Branch and the Everyday Adoption Center inside PetSmart Mt. Olive.
We continue to be open for adoptions 7 days a week at those sites and will update when we have a projected date for the re-opening of the Noah’s campus.
Monetary gifts to help with the costs of general care, spay/neuter and medical treatments from relatively simple to more serious can be made here. Food, litter and supplies can be dropped off at our shelters or ordered from our Amazon wish list for direct shipment at go.sthuberts.org/amazondonate.
View Media Coverage Below
1,279 Homeless Animals Welcomed to Mainland
1,739 Total Relocated After Hurricane Maria
On Sunday, June 17, St. Hubert’s welcomed the final monthly Puerto Rico Animal Unite airlifts bringing 52 dogs and cats to the mainland to rejoin their families. From January through June 460 animals that were separated from their relocated families have been reunited at no cost to the pet parents.
The Puerto Rico Animal Unite initiative began in January 2018, funded by an initial investment by the JPB Foundation which brought St. Hubert’s together with agencies in Puerto Rico, Florida and Texas. On the island, El Faro De Los Animales took the lead on coordinating the care necessary for pets to make the flight such as vaccinations, testing and health certifications. The Category 5 Hurricane forced many people to relocate to the mainland. Traveling with animals was often cost prohibitive or logistically impossible. Many of the families left their animals in the care of friends, family or neighbors while some left one member of the household behind until the animals could be brought over through the initiative. We’re honored to serve as the mainland reunification coordination partner in this amazing undertaking, helping to make families whole again. Once they arrived on the mainland St. Hubert's provided ground or air transport to get them back to their families, now spread across 28 states: California, Connecticut, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Wisconsin.
The reunification effort is just one way that St. Hubert’s has helped Puerto Rico pets and people after the hurricane. Back in September, we committed to a long-term response to the island which began with welcoming 786 homeless animals--dogs, cats and 3 pot-bellied pigs--from the island's animal shelters via emergency airlifts immediately following the storm. Our Sister Shelter WayStation destination partners mobilized and the pets were taken in to adoption programs at shelters from New Jersey and up the eastern seaboard as far as Toronto, Canada. Arriving flights were unloaded and then repacked with animal airline transport crates, pet supplies and human relief items--a total of more than 5 tons of much needed items sent back to the island. Between October 14, 2017 and June 23, 2018 an additional 493 homeless dogs and cats have been welcomed for adoption on the mainland.
St. Hubert's deployed experienced staff on a number of occasions, visiting shelters and rescues throughout Puerto Rico, and provided manpower and medical supplies on the island of Vieques as well. A number of Puerto Rico shelters have been added to the WayStation and scholarships were provided to enable two Puerto Rico shelter staff members to attend the annual Animal Care EXPO conference in Kansas City in May.
We’re happy to share more of the emotional reunion moments and will be forever grateful to the tireless efforts of so many who helped to make each one happen.
Your donations in support of this effort will be doubled throughout June. www.sthuberts.org/matchinggift
More Puerto Rico Animal Unite Airlifts on the Way
Get ready for more joyful reunions! We have staff on the ground in San Juan assisting with the preparations for Puerto Rico Animal Unite airlifts- we'll be at Morristown Airport Friday, 4/13 and Sunday, 4/15 to welcome them to the mainland. Many happy families have just a few more days to go before they'll have their dogs and cats back in their arms. Stay tuned for updates here and on social media.
St. Hubert's Continues Work with Puerto Rico Animal Unite
Plans and preparations are well underway for the March Puerto Rico Animal Unite airlift of pets coming to the mainland to be reunited with their relocated families. The goal is to transport 1,000 animals to their families over 6 months. Please enjoy this video and join us in celebrating the February 24 reunion weekend at St. Hubert's.
Keep checking our website and social media pages for updates on our next incoming flights!
If you or someone else you know needs help relocating pets from Puerto Rico, please visit #mypetbelongswithme or the Puerto Rico Animal Unite Facebook Page
St. Hubert's Welcomes Another Flight as Part of the Puerto Rico Animal Unite Initiative
The second flight of animals from the Puerto Rico Animal Unite Initiative is here! St. Hubert’s welcomed 37 dogs and cats early this afternoon, doing our part to achieve the goal of reuniting 1,000 animals with their owners in the next six months. President/CEO Heather Cammisa along with Vice President Becky Burton coordinated and accompanied the flight from Puerto Rico to Morristown Municipal Airport.
After an emotional afternoon of family reunions, most of the pets that arrived Saturday morning have either been reconnected with their families or are currently on their way. For the rest, we have coordinated commercial flights and smaller ground transports to ensure a safe and easy trip for each and every animal.
If you or someone you know is in need of assistance to relocate their pet from Puerto Rico, please visit #mypetbelongswithme.
Follow our St. Hubert's Facebook Page for more videos, pictures and updates!
The second round of pets belonging to Puerto Rico residents who relocated to the mainland will be welcomed at St. Hubert’s on Saturday February 24th to be reunited with their families!
We will be facilitating more reunions like this one of Byron and his family who were separated when Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico last fall.
St Hubert’s is honored to have been approached to be the lead partner and hub site for the Puerto Rico Animal Unite initiative because of our expertise in efficient long distance animal relocation and disaster response.
The goal for this initiative is to assist 1,000 family pets over the next 6 months, thanks to the support from the JPB Foundation who makes this work possible.
If you or someone else you know is looking to relocate their pet in Puerto Rico, they can visit #mypetbelongswithme.
Follow our St. Hubert's Facebook page for more videos, pictures and updates!
St. Hubert's Facilitates Reunification of Puerto Rico Pets And Their Families
The first group of pets whose travel to St. Hubert’s was made possible by our partnership in Puerto Rico Animal Unite and generous support from The JPB Foundation, are happily at home with their families on the mainland. We continue to be honored and grateful to be the facilitator of the final leg of each one’s journey home.
Following the delivery of their precious cargo to a number of relocated families throughout the Midwest and up to New England, with the amazing and energizing opportunity to witness the joyful reunions, our transport teams arrived home safely. The eight animals that we arranged to send on nonstop commercial flights further west arrived back in their loved ones’ arms happily and without incident.
For adorable Merida and her friendly feline sidekick Gia, the road home was a little bit more complicated. Their people are now residing in North Dakota and there were no available direct flights. They’d need an escort to travel with them since they certainly couldn’t go on a flight with a layover all alone. We found an angel named Sherri—who also happens to be a flight attendant—who said she and her husband Mark would gladly fly with them! Merida and Gia met the size requirements for being able to accompany them onto the plane in carriers that could be placed under their seats. Monday morning, February 5, St. Hubert’s Community Care manager Jenn met the wonderful couple and excitedly placed Merida and Gia in their care, happy in the knowledge that they’d be home at last by nightfall.
The flight to Chicago was fine and the little duo traveled well with their new friends. And then the news came that the connecting flight to North Dakota was cancelled due to weather conditions there. Our disappointment that it seemed they’d have to fly back to Newark and their heartbroken family would need to wait until we could try again was unfounded. Our angels weren’t going to give up that easily—they simply booked a hotel, shopped for a few extra pet supplies and the group spent the night right there in Chicago, hoping for good news in the morning.
It happened—they would indeed be able to catch a flight to North Dakota later in the day! Early Tuesday evening, February 6, Jenn got the exciting news that a tearful reunion was in progress at the airport and the family is whole again. Families belong together and the incredible network of partners making it happen look forward to many more happy reunions in the months to come.
St. Hubert’ will welcome another airlift of family pets from the island later this month. Those who relocated to the mainland following Hurricane Maria and are still waiting to bring their animal family members home to them should contact Puerto Rico Animal Unite for assistance.
And away they go! We are happy to announce that some of the beloved Puerto Rico pets have left the building and will soon be arriving at airports across the country to reunite with their owners- who have been patiently awaiting their homecoming. After spending a few nights with us at St. Hubert’s, eight pets flew out of Newark Airport on five separate flights!
Our ground transport team is making their way through their final leg of the trip as they deliver pets to their owners in the western half of the country. Seven out of ten dogs have been happily reunited with their human family members, while the remaining three are almost home. Our team will have made stops from Ohio to Texas and just about everywhere in between by the time they are done.
As the reunions ensued, so did the tears. We couldn’t be happier to be a part of the Puerto Rico Animal Unite initiative that allows families—canine, feline, and human—to stay together.
If you or someone else you know is looking to relocate their pet in Puerto Rico, they can visit #mypetbelongswithme.
Our St. Hubert's Facebook page will also be posting videos, pictures and updates as well--check it out!
In addition to the heartwarming stories of reunifications this weekend at our shelter, St. Hubert’s is pleased to have coordinated with the Humane Society of Vero Beach to facilitate reunions for families who relocated to Florida after the hurricanes. We thank Sunjet Aviation who airlifted 30 dogs to the Humane Society of Vero Beach which is serving as the way station and center for reunions for the state.
Staff and visitors at both of our organizations were experiencing beautiful family moments simultaneously, as excited pet parents arrived to pick up their dogs and cats throughout the weekend. Together we celebrate the wonderful partnerships that are making it possible to reunite families with their beloved pets- thank you El Faro de los Animales, JPB Foundation, Puerto Rico Animal Unite and David Brownstein for your commitment to making this happen!
Be sure to check out the News 12 NJ piece from Madison where they were on hand to capture the magic.News 12 NJ was on hand at Madison Sunday to capture some of the magic.
First flight from Puerto Rico landed safely and right on time. Twenty three dogs and five cats, escorted by Becky Burton and Colleen Harrington, were welcomed at Morristown Airport by our eager transport team. Within the hour they were enjoying their lunch back at the Madison shelter, completely unaware that they will soon be back in the arms of their families. The plane refueled, loaded on empty airline crates needed for the next group of passengers, and then headed back to San Juan. Also on board the return flight were two special canine passengers whose families are moving back home now that repairs and conditions have improved where they reside in Puerto Rico. Another flight arrives early afternoon Sunday and the reunions will begin Sunday evening. We’ll keep you updated here and on Facebook.
Exciting, heartwarming weekend news at St. Hubert’s. The first groups of pets belonging to Puerto Rico residents who relocated to the mainland will be welcomed at Morristown Airport on Saturday January 27, and Sunday January 28 and will shortly be reunited with their families! Due to our expertise in efficient long distance animal relocation and disaster response, we were approached by an animal welfare individual in Puerto Rico and the JPB foundation to be the lead partner and hub site in the newly formed Puerto Rico Unite initiative. We will be facilitating the reunions of pets and people separated when Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico last fall. Many who needed to relocate to the mainland immediately had no way to bring their pets with them and others who need to relocate have not yet done so because they do not want to leave their animal family members behind. Puerto Rico Animal Unite is the answer to both scenarios and removes the barriers of transportation availability and/or financial constraints so that families can stay together. The goal is to assist 1,000 family pets to leave the island over the next 6 months with the support from the JPB Foundation to help make it possible.
St. Hubert’s sent VP of Direct Animal Care & Lifesaving Partnerships Becky Burton and Transfer and WayStation Coordinator Colleen Harrington, who are handling mainland logistics, to Puerto Rico and they will escort the canine and feline passengers into Morristown Municipal Airport on the first flight into New Jersey this Saturday morning. On Sunday evening a number of families now residing in the tri-state area will come to St. Hubert’s to pick up their pets. The other pets will either be transported by St. Hubert’s to reunification sites across the country in specially equipped vehicles or flown to locations in the far western half of the country. St. Hubert’s partners at shelters along the varied routes will be on standby to assist as reunion sites and to ensure pet care in any unforeseen travel disruptions.
Our supporters are an integral part of the work we are able to accomplish—please consider joining the effort to keep ALL family members together with a special gift so that heartwarming reunions like this one will continue.
We will be posting updates on our Facebook page here as well!