7 min read

Huge Line Of People Shows Up To Save Dogs Rescued From Hurricane

"Many small kindnesses add up to big impacts" 👐

When Ali Standish arrived to pick up the puppy she had agreed to foster for the weekend, she couldn’t believe what she saw.

The line of volunteers was far longer than she expected — and people continued filing in behind her, patiently waiting for their turn to help a homeless dog seeking safety from Hurricane Florence.

“I was a bit surprised when I saw the line!” Standish told The Dodo. “My first reaction was, ‘Wow — the need here was much greater than I thought.’ And my second thought was, ‘Wow — people have really risen to meet this need.’”

Standish snapped a photo and posted it to Twitter along with the caption, “The line of folks waiting to pick up foster dogs for the weekend so coastal shelters can evacuate here before #HurricanceFlorence. Many more behind me. Sometimes humans are okay.”

Line of dog fosters in North Carolina before Hurricane Florence
Ali Standish

Volunteers from Saving Grace, an animal shelter based in Wake Forest, North Carolina, had worked diligently throughout the week to make room for animals evacuated from coastal shelters in the Carolinas. And the community had answered their call.

“We have [a] ‘weekend host’ program that happens every other weekend," Molly Goldston, founder and director of Saving Grace, told The Dodo. "This is an opportunity for people who cannot commit to fostering a dog long-term, but are willing to open their home to a dog on a short-term basis. We reach out to these folks for emergencies as well.” 

Standish and over 100 other potential fosters stepped up so that the displaced animals would have a safe and comfortable place to weather the storm. But with two rescue dogs of her own, Standish was unsure of how her foster puppy, Floyd, would fit into their family dynamic.

As soon as she got home, she saw there had been no need to worry.

“Floyd is about the best puppy I have ever met,” Standish said. “He is down to play if you are, but also totally fine to chill. He is respectful with our other two dogs, great on his leash and mostly potty-trained, which is pretty impressive for a 4-month-old!”

Ali Standish with her foster puppy, Floyd
Ali Standish

Standish’s dogs, Bella and Keeper, were all too happy to share the couch with little Floyd, and the pit bull mix hasn’t stopped thanking his saviors with plenty of licks and snuggles.

“He has the sweetest little face, and loves to be cuddled and picked up,” Standish added. “Whoever decides to take him in as their forever dog is going to be a very lucky family.”

Floyd licks his foster family ahead of Hurricane Florence
Ali Standish

Just before Florence made landfall Friday morning, something totally unexpected happened — Standish’s tweet went viral. Standish was shocked when she realized her post about a small but generous act had amassed over 13,000 retweets and 70,000 likes.

Ali Standish and her rescue dogs
Ali Standish

“I have seen literally thousands of comments since last night from people saying that this picture made their day, brought them to tears, or helped restore a little of their faith in humanity,” Standish said. “And I think it's because, while all of us in that line were there to do an individual small kindness, many small kindnesses add up to big impacts.”

“This shelter can now provide a safe place for dozens of dogs not because any one of us showed up, but because we all did,” Standish added.

Floyd the foster puppy snuggles up on the couch
Ali Standish

But for dedicated shelter staffers and volunteers, the work doesn’t stop once Florence blows through.

“We have assisted with multiple hurricanes and disasters in the past, but this one is hitting especially close to home,” Goldston wrote in a statement. “We need your support not only to care for the dogs we have taken in this week but those who are to come after Florence’s devastation. We are prepared to help where needed and look forward to providing love, medical care, supplies and safety to dogs in critical need in the weeks to come.”

If Standish’s community has anything to say about it, those dogs will not be left wanting.  

To help homeless dogs in the North Carolina area, you can make a donation to Saving Grace or volunteer to foster a dog.