Hurricane Dorian swept through the Bahamas over Labor Day weekend, leaving a trail of devastation for Bahamian residents. And it's not just human residents who have been impacted by the catastrophic storm: it's animals, too. If you've been thinking about the stray dogs in the Bahamas as Hurricane Dorian coverage continues, you might be happy to know that one woman has singlehandedly saved almost 100 of them — and now she needs help.
According to The Associated Press, over 13,000 homes have been destroyed by Dorian. And that devastation, coupled with the high population of stray dogs in the Bahamas, left many dogs on the island utterly without protection, both during the storm and in the wake of it. But Chella Phillips of Nassau decided to do something about it.
97 dogs are inside my house and 79 of them are inside my master bedroom...We have barricaded the refuge and nobody is outside, the music is playing in all directions of the house and the AC is blowing for them...the saddest part is that after the hurricane leave the Bahamas, some islands will take a long time to recover.. Each island has abundance of homeless dogs, my heart is so broken for the ones without a place to hide a CAT 5 monster and only God can protect them now.
As you can imagine, taking care of almost 100 dogs must be not only stressful but also extremely costly. Phillips has noted that many have donated funds to her, and welcomes any additional donations to the PayPal account at email@example.com. Additionally, Phillips noted in subsequent Facebook posts that the other real need for the dogs is a permanent home.
Phillips wrote, "Each of my babies deserve to have loving homes, so please, I am begging for rescues to help them!! My heart is breaking that I left so many on the streets cause I had no more room to bring them.. Please.. Please!!"
Phillips' story quickly went viral, with publications all over the world picking it up. On Monday, Phillips wrote to Facebook,
I pray for the other islands who have unimaginable damages and I don't see how any dogs or any living being could have survived outside. My heart goes out to them.Thank you for the outpouring support and heartfelt prayers from so many people that don't even know us, my post from yesterday went viral and total strangers are reaching out to us giving us the exposure that we need so bad...
If you're touched by this story, you can donate to the shelter's PayPal account, or to this fundraiser for the shelter, which aims to raise money for Phillips to continue caring for so many animals.
In a Facebook post on Tuesday, Phillips confirmed that the best way to support her efforts is through donations. "A lot of people have asked what they can do moving forward to help," she wrote. "Honestly, the best way to help us, is to consider a recurring donation on paypal or our website and follow our daily rescues and success stories and struggles on our Facebook page. If we could get 1,000 people to each donate $10 a month or 500 people $20 a month, it would give us the peace of mind to know we could spend all our energy on saving lives instead of stressing about our very survival."
You can also inquire into whether or not you can arrange to adopt one of the animals; some users have commented on Phillips' posts confirming that they did adopt a dog. And if you want to know more about how you can help the Bahamas after Hurricane Dorian, you can read this list of humanitarian efforts to support.