Meet pets rescued from Hurricane Ian

Rain the dog lying on a couch upside-down next to a person petting her and working on a laptop
Here are just a few of the more than 370 cats and dogs Best Friends has moved out of Florida since Hurricane Ian hit.
By Nicole Hamilton

Best Friends has been moving dogs and cats out of Florida shelters since Hurricane Ian hit, bringing them to the safety of shelters and rescue groups around the country. Today, many of these pets are all settled in foster homes or have been adopted. And others, including a group of tiny kittens, born not too long before storm, are getting the extra care they need before going on to loving homes.

Below are updates from our partners about a few of the dogs and cats who got a ride with Best Friends. Sunnier days aren’t just ahead for these cats and dogs ─ they’re already here.

1. Dori and the never-ending sleepover

Dori came from the Humane Society of Pinellas in Florida and went all the way to Providence Animal Center in Pennsylvania. A local family took her home for a sleepover, and one fun night led to another. The sleepover is still going strong, and now the family is thinking seriously about adopting her.

In fact, Dori looks a lot like the beloved dog who the family recently lost. With her around, the family feels complete again. “Dori is having a great time and fitting in well,” they shared in an update. “She is a great girl (and she) already knew her name and ‘sit.’ Dori loves playing with toys and sticks she finds in the yard. She loves to play fetch.” She’s finding joy each day meeting lots of new people and playing with her Basset hound friend, Lulu.

2. Merritt is all cuddles and purrs

Merritt is one of 10 cats (all named for cities in their home state of Florida) settling into life in Chicago after coming to Paws and Claws Rescue from Jacksonville Humane Society. “Merritt has been all cuddles, purrs and chirps since he arrived,” says Ashlynn Boyce of Paws and Claws Rescue.

Merritt purred his way through his veterinary exam and when he got to his foster home, he slept for close to 24 hours. Now that he’s all rested, he’s exploring his foster home and has established that the top of the cat tree is his domain.

3. Augustine gets TLC (and R & R)

Augustine, or Augie, as he’s fondly called, has a head tilt, but that doesn’t get in the way of him melting into purrs as soon as anyone pets him. Currently, Augie is getting lots of TLC in a Paws and Claws Rescue foster home. The family says he’s a little shy and cautious, but very sweet. Once Augie has had a little more R & R in his foster home, he’ll see a veterinarian to get to the bottom of his head tilt. It may always be a part of his life, but whether it is or not, it’s hard to resist his sweet face and the perfect “M” marking on his forehead.

4. A very smart dog named Rain

Caroline says that Rain, who she's fostered since Rain's arrival at the Charlottesville-Albemarle SPCA, is a super quick learner. “I've never met a dog who picked up tricks this quickly,” says Caroline. Rain, who came from the Humane Society of Pinellas County, showed Caroline she could sit, stay, come, wait, and lie down after a couple of days in her home. In fact, her nickname could be Miss Manners.

“When she's home alone, she curls up on the couch and sleeps until I get home from class,” says Caroline. “On walks, she's content to walk by your side or right in front of you with slack in the leash.”

Rain remains calm and focused on walks when she sees a fellow dog walking on the other side of the street. And cars, runners, bikes and busses don’t seem to bother her one bit. Caroline says that, as long as Rain is sitting next to someone, she “snores the day away with a big pittie smile on her face.”

5. Lucas Sinclair wears his heart on his chest

Lucas Sinclair, a two-and-a-half-year-old hound mix,  has been busy. After arriving at San Antonio Humane Society from Escambia County Animal Services in Pensacola, Florida, he made fast friends with his roommate, a dog (and fellow former Floridian) named after another Stranger Things character, Mike Wheeler. Then he was whisked away to a local news station for his first television appearance.

According to the shelter team Lucas Sinclair is a gentleman who loves people and fellow dogs. He’s an avid explorer who knows how to sit, and never turns down a treat. He’s also a fan of kisses ─ as in giving and receiving them. But then, that comes as no surprise considering the heart-shaped spot on his chest.

6. Sweet puppies Suzette and Mousse

It’s no wonder they’re named after desserts. Two-month-old puppies Suzette and Mousse became quite popular for their over-the-top sweetness after arriving in San Antonio. Their foster family, who set up a comfortable playpen for them (complete with lots of blankets and toys), refers to them as “the most adorable babies.”

7. Martin just wants love

Martin, a big orange tabby with the most wonderful big cheeks is one of the cats who made the trip with Best Friends from Escambia County Animal Services to Texas, where he now has quite a fan club. “He just wants to find someone to love,” says Lucia Almanza, public relations associate for San Antonio Humane Society. “As soon as you pet him, he immediately starts purring and rolling around.”

8. Jacksonville gets around the clock care

Jacksonville is one of more than 10 very young kittens that Best Friends picked up and drove from Manatee County Animal Services to Esther Neonatal Kitten Alliance in Asheville, North Carolina. While most of the kittens are big and healthy, little Jackson needed some special care. She has an overbite and may need oral surgery in the future, and she just began physical therapy for swimmer’s syndrome, a condition that causes her hind legs to splay out.

But Jacksonville is in good hands. "We're so glad we could give Jacksonville and her buddies a safe place to land after they were evacuated from Florida,” says Andee Bingham, executive director at Esther Neonatal Kitten Alliance. “Thanks to our wonderfully supportive community, they're receiving all of the medical care, nutritious food, and love they need to grow big and strong."

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