During natural disasters, humans pack everything they have and leave in a hurry. Unfortunately, they often leave their four-legged or furry family members behind. Knowing this, Melissa Lenagh jumped into action when she heard there were floods about an hour away from her in Hamburg, Iowa. More than half of Iowa’s counties have been under disaster proclamations this week due to the floods caused by rapid snow melt, heavy rain, and temperature changes. One of these counties is Hamburg, where Lenagh rushed to the aide of the innocent animals in danger.

On Monday, March 18th, Lenagh heard about the floods, dropped her kids off at daycare, and drove an hour to Hamburg where she asked how she can help the animals affected by the floods. Not even associated with an organization, she just arrived to help animals in any way she could. Mayor Crain realized they hadn’t even really considered the animals because they were so concerned for the people, and was happy that Lenagh stepped in.

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Lenagh went door to door asking people if they knew in which homes animals may have been left behind before catching a ride on a boat with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. She was a true hero, climbing trees to save cats and chasing chickens to get them to safety. Her efforts were so incredible, the next day she was called by the Mayor who asked if she could help save more animals in need. Soon enough, she was getting calls from many people concerned about their pets at home.

By Wednesday, March 20th, Lenagh saved over 19 animals including dogs, cats, chickens, and rabbits. She found many floating on mattresses, and all pets were still alive in all the homes she went to except for one. She said, “You don’t even think. If an animal needs to be helped, you just do it. That’s the way that I was raised.” Upon reuniting the animals with their families, she also stated, “I’d be willing to do anything to save an animal’s life. It just brought me to tears, I was so happy to help them.”

Lenagh is a true hero! She made sure animals were not forgotten in this disastrous situation. Many of the humans made their way to safety or at least were able to do so, unlike the animals who depend on humans to keep them safe. Thanks to Lenagh, these animals were saved and reunited with their families!

Natural catastrophes don’t just affect our pets and everyday animal companions. Wild animals are also deeply affected, like the polar bears struggling as a result of climate change. To speak up for the polar bears invading Russian islands seeking food and land, sign this petition!

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