North Carolina

She saved dozens of dogs from Florence, but needed help. People lined up to take them.

As Florence approaches NC, rescue finds foster home for 124 dogs

Faced with overcrowding after hurricanes, animal shelters sometimes resort to euthanasia. Saving Grace animal adoption of Wake Forest is one of several groups that tried to save endangered dogs before Hurricane Florence hit NC.
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Faced with overcrowding after hurricanes, animal shelters sometimes resort to euthanasia. Saving Grace animal adoption of Wake Forest is one of several groups that tried to save endangered dogs before Hurricane Florence hit NC.

Molly Goldston knew she wanted to save dogs from county animal shelters that, because of forthcoming Hurricane Florence, might have to euthanize them.

So earlier this week her Wake Forest adoption center, Saving Grace, accepted about two dozen dogs from shelters around the state and amassed a total of 124 — dozens more than it houses in a typical week.

Goldston didn’t know, however, how many of the dogs she’d be able to place in foster care.

“We have a very small facility. It used to be an old farm,” she said of her center, Saving Grace Animals for Adoption, in a telephone interview Thursday. Hurricane Florence is expected to bring devastating floods to eastern North Carolina and cause electrical outages across the state.

“We aren’t set up to take care of them if there’s no power,” Goldston said.

As it turns out, Goldston doesn’t have to worry. People lined up outside her facility on Wednesday night to foster for the weekend all 124 dogs — 100 that were already at Saving Grace and two dozen from other shelters.

Ali Standish, an author and Raleigh resident, was one of them. She had adopted one of her dogs, Keeper, from Saving Grace last year.

“I’m on their email list, and I saw the call for help. And I thought, this is a small thing I can do to make a difference!” Standish said in an interview through Twitter.

Government-run animal shelters often become overcrowded before hurricanes, prompting some to euthanize dogs and cats to make room. In some cases, independent adoption centers are willing to take responsibility for animals that might otherwise be euthanized.

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Nathan Mullins, a volunteer at Saving Grace Animals for Adoption in Wake Forest, holds a dog on Wednesday, Sept. 12 during the nonprofits’ drive to encourage pet fostering and adoption. Hurricane Florence is expected to bring strong winds and heavy rain to central North Carolina between September 13 and September 15. Courtest of Molly Goldston of Saving Grace Animals for Adoption

Saving Grace, founded in 2004 and located north of Raleigh, partners with municipal animal shelters in eastern N.C., Goldston said.

“A lot of our (county) shelters are expected to have a lot of devastation. We took a lot of them this week so they didn’t have to euthanize them,” she said. “Now I think I should’ve gotten more dogs.”

Saving Grace isn’t the only group to transfer animals from shelters to foster parents.

The Pender County Animal Shelter on Wednesday was “begging for assistance,” its manager told The Washington Post in an interview Wednesday. And the Pender County Humane Society is one of several groups trying to find homes for the shelter animals, the Post reported.

Peak Lab Rescue, an Apex-based Labrador rescue, has 115 dogs in its care this week, its spokeswoman, Sharon Gesser, said in a phone interview Thursday.

Approximately 42 dogs came from shelters in eastern N.C. in advance of the hurricane.

Its volunteers are going to great lengths to acquire the dogs, she said.

“First-time Transporter (volunteer) Marni went to pick up one dog and came back in bumper-to-bumper traffic in the pouring rain with eight dogs and one cat in her brand new car!” Gesser said. “She got there and they had just received dogs they weren’t expecting.”

So Marni made room.

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Specht: 919-829-4870 @AndySpecht

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Linda Nabinger, a volunteer for Peak Lab Rescue in Apex, takes a selfie in her car on Sept. 10 after picking up dogs from shelters in eastern North Carolina. Courtesy of Peak Lab Rescue

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