Nine planes, two cruise ships and a 245-foot superyacht have all played a role in the work that Big Dog Ranch Rescue is doing to help the dogs — and even a few cats — who were victims of Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas.
“We have rescued 132 animals between ourselves and with our rescue partners,” Big Dog Ranch Rescue CEO Christopher Kraus said. “About 30 right now are available for adoption. Not all of them will be adoptable — some will be reunited with their owners.”
Kraus explained that the first shipment of animals from the Bahamas came directly from a shelter that had dogs already healthy and ready for new homes.
“The other dogs require not only a 30-day quarantine period, but we are also working with the Bahamas to make sure that if it is a dog that could be reunited, we want to do everything possible to make that happen,” Kraus said.
The Loxahatchee Groves-based nonprofit is using a network of inbound photos, e-mails and sharing photos of the rescues in an attempt to find missing owners.
“We’ve already done about 35 reunites,” Kraus said. “Lauree Simmons, our founder and president, has personally gone over three times on rescue missions and done a lot of those reunites herself.”
Unfortunately, many pet owners were unable to take their pets back.
“Many owners have told us that they are in no position now to care for their dogs,” Kraus explained. “They’ve lost everything, and they requested that we find them a wonderful, loving home.”
BDRR has also coordinated the transportation of tens of thousands of dollars in medical supplies, pet food and equipment to assist animal-related efforts in the Bahamas. The nonprofit even sent 17 volunteers, including electrical and sheetrock specialists, to help clean up the Humane Society in Freeport so they can start to rebuild.
“We’re getting pages and pages of lists of medical supplies they need,” Kraus said. “They need a lot of IV solutions because many of the dogs had salt intoxication from the saltwater. With the storm surge in Grand Bahama and Abaco, it ruined all the freshwater supplies for dogs that were left behind.”
Kraus explained how rescue efforts required teams to convert Google maps to GPS coordinates because all the street markers and landmarks were gone.
“We are getting ready to send a van down to the Humane Society of the Bahamas to replace theirs that got swept away. It has been an ongoing effort to get them up and running again,” he said. “There’s a lot of great organizations helping out in those areas. We’re, obviously, just focused on the four-legged friends.”
Funding these efforts is no easy task, and donations are still accepted as relief efforts continue.
BDRR’s Director of Development Robin Friedman is excited about one of their unique upcoming fundraising events. Barks & Brews is one of the many ways the facility funds the work being done on behalf of Bahamas relief programs.
“There will be dogs there for adoption. It’s a $25 ticket, and we’ll be taking donations at the event as well,” Friedman said. “It’s just a fun event because Downtown at the Gardens is putting it on, as well as the Yard House. They are supplying beer and food, and there’s a music concert.”
The Barks & Brews event is Friday, Oct. 11 from 6 to 9 p.m. at Downtown at the Gardens (11701 Lake Victoria Gardens Ave., Palm Beach Gardens).
For more information, or to make lifesaving donations to Big Dog Ranch Rescue, visit www.bdrr.org.