PHILADELPHIA, Pa. — After the recent damaging rains in West Virginia, All Dogs Come From Heaven, a Cincinnati-based animal rescue organization, and Pet Valu, a specialty retailer of pet items, joined efforts in collecting and transporting pet food and supply donations to animal shelters and rescues in flood-affected areas.
The second of several planned transports shipped out of Cincinnati, June 30.
Because of the flooding, thousands of people and their pets have been displaced and West Virginia animal shelters are inundated with strays separated from their families by the disaster. Pet Valu became involved, collecting more than 850 pounds of pet food and litter in less than 24 hours, when the firm learned of the dire need for pet food from All Dogs Come from Heaven. Pleas for help had been put out on social media and from the Kanawha-Charleston Humane Association, which is serving as a central distribution point for individuals and other shelters during this desperate time of need.
“The rescue community really comes together when there is a crisis,” said William Coplen, who heads the rescue outreach program for All Dogs Come from Heaven. “And Pet Valu is a big part of that community. The stores are one of the main sources of donated food that keep shelters, rescues and fosters afloat. All it took was one phone call about the situation in West Virginia, and management and employees at Pet Valu stepped up without hesitation.
“When we heard from an emergency management contact in Charleston that they were doling out dog food in Ziploc bags, we knew we had to do something, and fast,” he said.
In addition to donations from several Pet Valu stores in Cincinnati and northern Kentucky, the two transports included food from the United Pet Fund of Blue Ash, All Dogs Come from Heaven and Sweet Dream House rescues. Art Lewis, a volunteer with One-by-One Animal Advocates in Huntington, drove to Cincinnati in his vehicle to pick up and deliver the food to Charleston both times, and a second driver assisted him in another vehicle on Thursday.
Pet Valu’s Morgantown location in northeastern West Virginia is still accepting donations in store and is serving as a drop-off point for additional pet food and supplies, including donations from other businesses in the area.