As the planet heats up, natural disasters are increasing in frequency and intensity. In Colorado, residents of Boulder County recently bore witness to the devastation such disasters can produce. On December 30, 2021, Dave Crawford, Animal Help Now's executive director and resident of Original Town Superior, recorded this from his front porch:
Smoke from the Marshall Fire as it moves into Superior, CO.
Fueled by drought and wind gusts of over 100mph, the Marshall Fire destroyed more than 1,000 homes, including Dave's.
Because Dave's home served as Animal Help Now's de facto headquarters, all of the organization's physical records and files, as well as merchandise, equipment, and supplies, were lost in the conflagration.
As he was evacuating, Dave learned that a neighbor's dog, Chief, was locked inside with no humans home. With Chief's guardian away from home and unable to get back into the neighborhood, Dave and another neighbor, Mike, coordinated the rescue. Mike kicked down the door to free Chief from his crate and get him into his truck. Chief otherwise would have lost his life in the fire.
Many weren't so lucky. The fire claimed two human and several hundred helpless pet lives, including cats, dogs, birds, turtles, reptiles, fishes, and many others. The heavy loss of life was mainly due to the animals' guardians being at work or out of town on holiday, powerless to help their companion animals from afar. Even those close by were unable to get to their homes due to the traffic-clogging exodus of evacuees.
In the fire's aftermath, and considering the looming increase in natural disasters, it has become clear that a technology-based buddy system is necessary to connect and empower neighbors to save one another's companion animals in emergencies. Animal Help Now will create this network with our new companion animal rescue app.
Watch Dave describe the concept in a short news clip here , or read more about it in this Denver Post article.
The companion animal rescue app will:
- Help you identify your neighborhood support group: a select group of your neighbors who will know your pets
- Notify you of the need to get your animal companions to safety in a disaster
- Alert your neighborhood group if you are unable to evacuate your pets
- Allow you to give your neighborhood group access to your home or permission to break in if necessary
- Save lives
For more information, see www.PetHelpAndRescue.org (www.PHaR.org). Animal Help Now has more than ten years of experience with app building. Our Colorado-based nonprofit provides the country's best wildlife 911 service, offered for free on our website (www.AHNow.org) and phone app. People just like you used our nationwide service 100,000 times in 2021.
COLLABORATION: The Animal Help Now team already at work to make this companion animal rescue app a reality. Team members are developing the concept and working with veterinarians, rescue experts, and other professionals to develop an effective app and launch it before July of this year. AHNow is exploring collaborative opportunities with businesses and other nonprofits using digital technology in the emergency preparedness and response sector.
We have received a $2,500 grant to get this project off the ground, but we need your help. Please give today to help ensure animals get a better chance to survive a disaster – just like Chief.
Chief, alive and well, with his whole life ahead of him.
Your donation will:
- Ensure our lifesaving app is developed and deployed as quickly as possible
- Support critical efforts to raise public awareness of the app's availability
- Enable AHNow to effectively partner with agencies and organizations to develop the best possible companion animal rescue app
- Save lives
Note: If you prefer to donate by check, please make the check payable to Animal Help Now and mail it to:
Animal Help Now
2525 Arapahoe, Suite E4-705
Boulder, CO 80302
If you have suggestions on how this app might be most effective or you'd like to help create or promote it, please get in touch via the "Contact" button below. We'd love to hear from you.
Thank you for reading!