Hurricanes are devastating in anyone’s book, but to be right in the midst of hurricane after it’s happened, that realization of the devastation is shocking.
New York army national guardsman specialist Stefanie DeManincor was working together with police after a horrific hurricane on the island of St Croix. Java. She had a surprise that day that she wasn’t expecting, she was destined to make a new best friend!
Stefanie was on patrol doing her job when she looked up, to see above her on the balcony, a young puppy wagging its tail, what a wonderful surprise to find in the wake of such a devastation.
The puppy, Ava had a terrible flea and tick infestation, however, she and Stefanie hit it off straight away, they were made for each other!
Stefanie said: – “We knew we needed to somehow get her back (to Rochester)”
Keeping the two together was going to require some real work and involve knowing the right people to make it possible.
The Buffalo based national guard brought humanitarian aid, but more than this the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the ASPCA, also had a team of people to help the animals in need too!
The ASPCA said that their team assists the local animal welfare organizations in places there has been a disaster, whether it’s man-made or natural in nature! This year alone they have been called to assist after hurricanes Maria, Harvey and hurricane Irma and Maria as well as the wildfires that spread over California.
Stefanie sought someone to help her take Ava back home, she found someone called Joel Lopez, the director of planning and operations in the filed for the ASPCA.
Sadly the St Croix Animal Welfare Center had not only been seriously damaged but also looted many times over, it was not suitable at all for animals there in its current condition.
ASPCA evaluated that local operations were completely disrupted and “there was really no place for animals to go” as the St. Croix Animal Welfare Center had been severely damaged and looted repeatedly.
More than 350 animals were rescued that day by the ASPCA, Ava made one more to the list, Joel agreed to rescue her, of course, for Stefanie.
“She was laying on the side of the road eating a bag of potato chips. She looked really sad”
“We scooped her up,” and noticed about 12 other dogs, Lopez said. ASPCA worked to find the animals’ owner, who surrendered the dogs. “
“From there, “it was pretty clear how connected Stefanie was with Ava.”
Stefanie visited Ava many times, as many as she could, she got her the necessary shots she needed and got her a health certificate and the signed the adoption papers, that’s the easy part all done!
Now …she has the more difficult task of trying to find a way to get Ava back to Rochester with her, thankfully, just as she was in need comes Sali Gear, a non-profit organization for the Island Dog Rescue!
“She was a huge role in getting my dog up here”
Gear, an Island Native was a huge help, he said that taking Ava was the least he could do, he was a true animal lover.
“I care about people, I care about animals, I certainly care about our military”
Gear really was a nice guy and for many years has flown dogs to the mainland, helping at every turn! Stefanie said that what Gear does is really amazing, she even made a small donation, after all the work is expensive, every dollar that comes in there is $1.25 that goes out!
Stefanie, after her assignment in St Croix, drove all the way to Pennsylvania to get her lovely Ava as she got off the plane, this was in October. Now she is in Rochester since about a month ago and are looking forward to their first holiday season and winter together!
“I feel lucky, really, really, lucky”