It is difficult to overstate the love and devotion that Americans have for their pets, particularly dogs. When they read the statistics about stranded animals after disasters, they might ship 50-pound (23-kilogram) bags of dog food to the Gulf Coast or a hundred pairs of doggie shoes to New York City. (In the days after 9/11, a newscaster noted that some rescue dogs were suffering foot burns from hot rubble. The police force was inundated with boxes of dog shoes [source: Holguín-Veras].)
But shipping heavy boxes of supplies to a disaster area is not an efficient use of money and resources. Thankfully, there are wonderful organizations like the American Humane Association that make it their mission to rescue and protect animals that are stranded or injured during a natural disaster.
The American Humane Association is one of several sponsors of the Red Star Animal Emergency Services disaster response team. Red Star was created in 1916 to supply animal rescue services for the U.S. Army during World War I and is now the official animal welfare partner of the American Red Cross during a crisis. Today, the Red Star is a full-service disaster response team armed with an 82-foot (24.9-meter) mobile rescue rig and a fleet of vehicles and volunteers to conduct urban and flood search and rescue [source: American Humane Association].
If you want to help animals during a disaster, don't send heavy bags of pet food and litter. Donate to the American Humane Association or the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, which will ensure that animals receive the food, shelter and medical care that they need.