A recent four alarm fire in Levittown Pa. gutted 48 apartments, leaving many people without basic necessities. The Red Cross was there to help them but what about the animals? Red Paw was there for them. The organization was founded two years ago by Jen Leary, of Philadelphia. She is a firefighter for the city. “I saw the need for this”, she said just after taking a donation of cat food from Browns Shopright, at the fire scene.
“When we get notified about a dwelling fire where there are animals, we go out in our vehicle, which has things we will need to help animals. Food for animals, like cats, birds, dogs, etc. we have animal carriers so owners can transport their pets , cat gloves, dog leads”, anything to help peoples pets’, Leary said.
When a fire strikes, most people care about their pets and will not leave without them and are not simply going to abandon their pets in the hopes that they will be “okay”. They won’t be. That is the truth. They will be killed in horrible deaths or starve. When a pet owner grabs a cat out of a burning house, they will just grab the animal and put it in their car. They have no way to carry it. Sure they can run to a store and buy a carrier, but with Red Paw helping out, that is one less thing they have to worry about.
The organization will respond in the five county area. They have seen snakes, lizards, of course, birds, cats and dogs. They may have to give an animal oxygen and the truck they have is equipped to do that.
In disasters such as Hurricane Katrina, thousands of became a burden on first responders because they refused to leave without their pets. There was no planning for animals. As people stay with their pets, people died, or got stranded and had to be rescued. An organization like Red Paw can help insure that people’s pets get a quick reunion with their owners.
Stories about a six year old child having his white dog, Snowball yanked from his arms by a macho cop and told the boy get on the bus, That boy is going to Houston. Snowball was his safety net. Now a macho queen had no regard for the boy or his dog. On the bus filled with other travelers, this six year old was screaming, crying and cursing that cop for 12 hours. He got sick and threw up on the bus. Thanks again to the poorly trained man , the travelers on the vomit comet to Houston have a brutal and most unpleasant ride. Clearly, trained professionals like Leary or someone from her organization could have stepped in, spoken to the boy, maybe even offered the family a ride with Snowball, or a guarantee that Snowball would be okay. That is much better than a cop with a machine gun barking orders at a child. Less stress on everyone. While Red Paw is limited to this region, this demonstrates the need is there for a similar organization across the country.
After spending a few minutes with Leary, it’s clear to see she is not a crazy cat lady. She is well trained and intelligent. Red Paw is a 501-C-3,which means donations are tax deductible. Red Paw, is the website where you can get more info on them, or volunteer.
Back to the Levittown Fire, Leary and her crew have set up shop giving away free supplies next to the Red Cross, which they work hand in hand with. They got a report of a lost cat and they went to work setting up cat traps, hoping to catch the frightened animal . You can see a photo with this article, of the cat they are looking for.
They are becoming more recognized by emergency responders and the public. A huge fire that displaced dozens of cats in West Philadelphia showed the need. The owners of the property had their head up their rear ends when they cordoned off the property and posted security to keep out pet owners. . People snuck in, assaulted the guards or did whatever they needed to do to rescue their pets. That was the birth of Red Paw. Trained professionals who can go in, help people by reuniting them with their pets, or supply pet owners with supplies needed for their animals in a time of need.
Look for Red Paw to grow. Within 20 years it is totally conceivable to have this organization have chapters in every state.
THIS ARTICLE AND ALL PHOTOS (EXCEPT THE MISSING CAT) IS COPYRIGHT BY ALEX LLOYD GROSS AND MAY NOT BE REPUBLISHED OR RE POSTED WITHOUT PRIOR PERMISSION.