WEST DES MOINES, Iowa -- Rescuing an animal can be fulfilling. For Austin Key of Des Moines, it was a bit of love at first sight. He said, "I was just looking for a friend. I think I may have found him here. You can’t really put words on it. You just click.”
An "Adopt-A-Thon" event at Jordan Creek Town Center featured the Animal Rescue League of Iowa, Animal Lifeline of Iowa, Animal Rescue of Carroll, Furry Friends Refuge and Taysia Blue Husky and Malamute Rescue.
"It’s really cool to watch everybody come together. As we learn, it takes a huge team to make things like this happen and to help those pets that are in need,” said Meg Trumper, ARL Iowa special events coordinator.
Also fulfilling a need of their own, the event hopes to alleviate Iowa shelters operating at capacity. Trumper said, "We have over 1,000 pets in our care right now, which makes for a lot of work and a lot of room that has been taken up."
It could also free them up to rescue cats and dogs that have fallen victim to the destruction of Hurricane Dorian and give them new life in Iowa. "I see the effects of how these hurricanes impact places away from the coast. We are in the Midwest but clearing space so all pets have a home and are safely taken care of,” said Trumper.
Finding that connection for Amy Jaacks and her three children was accidental but just as meaningful. She said, "My son Donovan and I have always talked about getting an orange cat and naming him Hobbs, so we saw the orange one and ended up getting his brother, too.”
Purchasing a furry friend isn’t usually cheap. In order to create more space for future Hurricane Dorian animals, a special discount with cats and dogs aged six months and older proved a connection and cost can be close to priceless. Trumper said, "Name your price adoption fee. Maybe you only have $20 but you say 'I’ve made this connection with a dog and I want it,' and we can do that for you."
While many communities will rebuild from Dorian’s destruction, these connections miles away may just be the only way for displaced animals to do the same. Key said, "You open up your heart to them and they’ll do the same." Trumper added, "We think about how scary it is as humans, but then think about how scary it is to lose your entire life because you are a dog and that’s all you know."
You can learn more about helping local shelters trying to free up space by going to the ARL Iowa website.