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Red Cross Volunteers Helping Pets After Hurricane Michael

Two Cats Find a New Home

American Red Cross disaster responders are humanitarians, but their compassion isn’t limited to humans. Volunteer Shanda Scott was assessing the damage to homes in the North Springfield neighborhood of Panama City Beach, FL, when she heard what sounded like animals crying. As she investigated, she spotted two cats leaning out of the broken window of a home.

A neighbor told Scott the residents had evacuated 10 days earlier, before Hurricane Michael hit, and had not returned. Scott reached in and pulled the cats to safety.

Red Cross volunteer takes a selfie with one of the two cats she rescued from a damaged home in Panama City.

“Whether it’s people or animals, I feel I just had to do something to help,” she said. “You could tell they were hungry – they were meowing so loudly.”

When she was unable to reach an animal shelter, Scott decided to take the cats to a local resident she knew who was caring for abandoned dogs and cats.

Scott drove the furry storm victims to Jessica Manson’s house; the two met the previous day when Scott was doing damage assessment on nearby Powell Avenue. When she recounted the cats’ sad tale, Manson replied, “Sure, I’ll take them in. We’re animal lovers. If we see an animal that’s hurt or struggling, we take care of them.”

Red Cross volunteer Shanda Scott (left), poses with Jessica Manson (far right) and her children Dominique and Kaitlyn. Jessica and her family are caring for local animals in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael

A Lost Pup is Reunited with His Family

Judy Correnti and Rebecca Cohn, two members of the Red Cross Reunification Team, found a lost dog in the parking lot of a restaurant in Panama City Beach, FL, around 9:30 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 21. The dog was clearly lost, wearing only a red harness and a partial black leash.

The team called the dog over to him and they quickly became friends. Together with an officer they flagged down from the Panama City Police Department, the team found him a safe place to stay for the night with the officer’s mother. They decided to call him “Michael.”

The next morning, they found a post on social media from a family looking for their puppy. The family had moved from Pennsylvania to Panama City only eight weeks ago and had lost hope that the dog would ever find his way home. The team then reached out to the family and arranged to meet with them.

A post on social media from Rocco's family asking for help finding him.

Today the team is elated to report that “Rocco” is now at home with his family, safe and sound.

“Thank you so much, you guys are truly amazing. Finding our Baby Rocco, my kids are so overwhelmed with joy for bringing their brother pup back home.”

A woman holds Rocco after the reunification.