Saving the Flood of 2011 Furry Refugees

Connie McKinneyStarred Page By Connie McKinney, 8th Sep 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Pets>Adoption & Rescue

People weren't the only ones affected by the Flood of 2011. Pets had to find shelter, too. Two furry flood refugees stayed with us. This is the last in a series about the flood.

Furry Flood Refugees

As the waters rose in Binghamton, New York, two years ago, thousands of people were evacuated. Since most shelters didn't take pets, many pets were left behind. They were the forgotten victims of the Flood of 2011, which occurred two years ago this weekend.
Some people refused to leave their homes without their pets. They were later rescued by helicopter or boat by volunteers or the National Guard. I saw one man who camped out on the sidewalk of the flood shelter set up at Binghamton University with his black Labrador retriever. Other pets were fortunate enough to find shelter with friends or relatives.
My husband, Joe; and I had two furry flood refugees take shelter with us. Cody, a tiny brown dog who looks like a fox, belonged to one of Joe's sisters. She and her three children were evacuated. They stayed with another sister while we took Cody in.
We also sheltered Shadow, a furry, gray cat who lived at the group home where my husband works. The residents were evacuated to higher ground. Shadow had to stay behind. Joe went back to get Shadow as soon as the water receded.

The Pets Outnumbered the Humans

Cody and Shadow joined our two cats and one dog. Joe and I were outnumbered five to two. Life was crowded but we survived.
One of our cats hid a lot during the flood days but she later came around. Our dog didn't mind the extra company. Cody seemed to enjoy hanging out with the humans and the other furry creatures.
Shadow was the only animal who had trouble getting along with everybody. He was the only pet at the group home and wasn't used to having all those animals around. The other pets would approach him, sniff him and try to make friends. Shadow would snarl and bat them with his paw. Fortunately, we only had to keep Shadow a week before the group home was cleaned up, and the residents moved back.
Cody wound up staying with us six weeks while Joe's sister had her basement cleaned and repaired. He didn't mind at all.

We Adopt a Flood Refugee

A few months after the flood, we adopted a flood refugee: Tara the cat. Her elderly owner had given her up to a domestic violence shelter six months before the flood. The pets of domestic violence victims often end up at the shelter. The shelter flooded, and all the animals were evacuated to the homes of shelter employees. One of my friends took Tara but she couldn't keep her because she was allergic to her. So Joe and I adopted Tara.

Where Are They Now?

Two years after the flood hit, our local emergency management officials and agencies such as the Red Cross are trying to develop policies to take care of pets during emergencies. They haven't come up with a solution yet. The problem is most shelters don't take pets. Many people reunited with their pets once they were allowed to return home. But other pets were abandoned, and overwhelmed our local humane society.
Today, Shadow is back home at the group home and enjoying being the only furry creature in that house. Cody is no longer with us and died a few months ago at the ripe old age of 17. Tara continues to live with us and spends most of her days lounging in or outside of the house. We're glad we could help our furry friends when they needed us the most.

This is the first flood story:
This is the second flood story:

Attribution: I took all the photos of the pets.


Flood, Flood Damage, Flood Havoc, Flooding, Floods

Meet the author

author avatar Connie McKinney
I enjoy exercising, pets, and volunteering as well as writing about these topics and others.

Share this page

moderator Mark Gordon Brown moderated this page.
If you have any complaints about this content, please let us know


author avatar Mark Gordon Brown
8th Sep 2013 (#)

Thank you for helping these animals. My wife wrote an article a while ago about the tragedy in New Orleans when so many were left behind and died.
I am glad I live in a place that cannot flood (we are up on a hill).

Reply to this comment

author avatar Connie McKinney
8th Sep 2013 (#)

Thanks, Mark. I am a great animal lover and glad to help. It's sad what happened in New Orleans. I'm glad to hear you too are up on a hill and safe from floods.

Reply to this comment

author avatar Delicia Powers
9th Sep 2013 (#)

Well done Connie...!

Reply to this comment

author avatar cnwriter..carolina
9th Sep 2013 (#)

oh so adorable those animals...light to them and may a safe haven be found for all...blessings...

Reply to this comment

author avatar Connie McKinney
9th Sep 2013 (#)

Thanks, Carolina. I am glad I could shelter them when they needed it.

Reply to this comment

Add a comment
Can't login?