By Jim McIntyre, American Red Cross
Houston, Texas – Of course, his name has to be Harvey.
The stray kitten turned up while American Red Cross disaster workers were setting up a shelter at Greenspoint Mall for Hurricane Harvey evacuees.
Harvey is now being cared for by Jennifer Laash and her staff at a pet shelter in a sturdy tent in the mall parking lot. People in the Red Cross shelter have their pets close by, where they can visit and take care of them daily.
Ellen Brown-Wyatt’s dogs, Daisy and Sweet Pea, are among the pets housed at the shelter. “My granddaughter has my cats,” Ellen said, “but she can’t have dogs at her apartment complex. I’m happy I have a place to put (the dogs) nearby.”
Ellen’s grandson Joshua held Harvey, who has been serving as an impromptu therapy pet to staff and visitors alike.
Meanwhile, Jennifer was busy, making sure water bowls were filled and pets were walked and fed.
“I’ve always been an animal lover,” Jennifer explained. As a disaster preparedness manager for the Red Cross in Wisconsin, she teaches people in her community how to prepare for emergencies. After Hurricane Harvey hit the Texas Gulf Coast, she volunteered to come to Houston to manage the pet shelter.
“This has become sort of a refuge for staff and volunteers,” Jennifer said. “It’s pretty amazing.”
As for Harvey, after a week of documented care, if no one claims him, he’ll be put up for adoption through the Houston ASPCA, Jennifer said.
She has no doubt he’ll be a fit for someone looking for a pet with an affectionate, playful personality. “He has provided a great service to us all,” she said.