After Hurricane Harvey hit, thousands of animals fled their homes and got separated from their owners.
Allen County SPCA's Jessica Henry got a call asking her to come to Houston.
"It was just overwhelming in a sense that I didn't really know what was going to be expected of me, what my job was going to be down there. I just knew there were a lot of animals there who needed a lot of help," Henry says.
She says she also wasn't prepared for the cacophony of barking that greeted her at a county fairgrounds about 25 miles outside of Houston where more than 500 dogs and more than 100 cats were being held.
"I was hopeful the whole time, optimistic they were going to be reunited with their families, and I remain hopeful to this day. The great news is, most of the shelters down there are agreeing to hold the animals for up to 30 days, giving the owners an opportunity to get their lives back together and then reunite with their animals," she says.
She says it was disheartening to only see three or four reunions, but since it was right after the hurricane, she's keeping her fingers crossed that more connections will be found.
Dogs and cats don't like storms, and when Harvey hit, thousands of them got spooked and took off.
Henry says their humans are to blame.
"If they had been microchipped, we would have had a known owner, we would have had, hopefully, and up to date current contact information. We could have let them know that their animal was safe with us and that they could come get their animal when they were safe and dry," Henry says.
And even though we don't get hurricanes here, she begs you to get your pet microchipped, too.
"Microchips aren't for your every day, they're for the unexpected. They're for when your animal takes off during the fireworks or thunderstorms. But we do know that we've got flooding here, we do know that we are prone to tornadoes here, so you should always have a plan. Your microchipped pet should have a safety plan just like the rest of your household," Henry says.
She says that should include a crate, a leash and collar with dog tags, food, water, and medications for a week, and current vet records.
If you want to help these furry faces, Henry says the best thing you can do is adopt a pet from your local animal shelter.
"It really is a ripple effect. When you adopt from us, you save two lives. You save the life of the pet you're taking home and you make space for us to save another animal," she says.
Henry says if you or someone you know is in Fort Wayne as a hurricane evacuee, and can't take care of their animals, the SPCA will foster them for you for up to 60 days until you find a place to live that accepts your pets.