Disaster Animal Response Team Answers the Call for Help

As many of our supporters know, the Central Vermont Disaster Animal Response Team (CVDART) was activated by the state to provide emergency pet sheltering services to pets evacuated with their families in Barre and Montpelier following the devastating July floods. CVDART is one of 5 regional response teams chartered with the statewide Vermont Disaster Animal Response Team (VDART). The CVDART leadership team took on the responsibility of setting up and operating the pet shelter next door to the American Red Cross shelter for people impacted by the flood, with the assistance of volunteers from across the state and beyond. Owners had the comfort of knowing that their pets were safe and nearby, and they were able to regularly visit them during their stay while they got back on their feet.

This unprecedented response brought together animal lovers, animal welfare agencies, local businesses, foundations and emergency responders to ensure that pets could remain with their families both during and after the storm.

47 volunteers spent more than 1,700 hours caring for animals 24/7 over the course of 26 days. We sheltered 47 cats, 20 dogs, 2 guinea pigs and 1 rabbit for 38 families and currently have 5 animals in foster care for families who weren’t able to make pet-friendly housing arrangements before the shelter was closed.

CVDART and VDART are beyond grateful to the many people, businesses and donors who sprang into action to help us not only provide shelter for these animals, but also vital medical services, enrichment, and in some cases, foster care. But no one is more grateful than the pet owners who didn’t have to give up their animals because of the services we were able to provide, like Kristin Hall.

Kristin Hall was at Boy Scout camp with her kids in Eden when the river overtook her house. Her dad was able to rescue her dogs, but she didn’t know how she was going to be able to take care of them. Hall said losing your home is an incredibly disjointing experience.

But in the parking lot outside the ice rink, with Princess on one leash and Buttercup on the other, she was smiling — through tears sometimes, but smiling. She said she can’t really imagine what it’d be like if se didn’t have her dogs to get her through this experience. “And to know that I didn’t have to give them up. First of all that we didn’t lose them, but to know that I didn’t have to give them up, because they’re safe,” she said . . . it’s just tremendous. I don’t even know how to say thank you for the people that have just stepped up around here.” – Vermont Public Radio, Peter Hirschfield, July 24, 2023 

VDART would like to thank our volunteers, our individual donors, as well as our partners on the ground who made this life-saving response possible.