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As hurricanes continue to ravage the Carribean Islands, with Category 5 Hurricane Maria most recently destroying everything in her path, thousands of humans and animals alike have felt her wrath. Thankfully, dozens of groups and compassionate individuals are stepping up to help.

Sali Gear, co-founder of Island Dog Rescue, a group that specializes in saving dogs from the U.S. Virgin Islands is a true unsung hero for hundreds of animals stuck on the Islands. Sali chartered a plane to save 300 animals ahead of Hurricane Maria’s landfall. Serious hero alert!

Sali, along with committed supporters charted the plane because, as she told Piolet Online, “it had to be done.” 

Sali grew up on the islands and had been back to the Virgin Islands since Hurricane Irma devastated the area just two weeks ago. Heartbreakingly, many of the animals had been left homeless, wandering the streets scrounging for food. 

As of just a few days ago, 300 dogs and cats were shipped off the islands and made their way safely to Norfolk, VA. 

On the crowdfunding page for the mission, an update was recently posted, “Over 300 animals were evacuated from the Virgin Islands on Monday, Sept 18th. The animals are currently in Virginia on Sali Gear’s ranch. She needs supplies, donations and help walking dogs.”

The crowdfunding page has already raised $11,950 of the groups $7,500 goal. If you would like to help contribute, all donations will go directly to Island Dog Rescue’s efforts to help our furry friends. The chartered flight alone cost $112,000 and all of the carriers cost $5,000. 


The animals were brought to Sali’s ranch, where they eagerly wagged their tails and gave kisses to volunteers. Local rescue groups have been picking up the animals and transporting them to places like Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and the greater Boston area. Amazing!

For pet disaster planning, be sure to check out these tips. If you happen to come across a dog or cat, or any other animal in need, check out these Animal Rescue Hotlines. You could save a life.

For more information on Island Dog Rescue, click here.

All image source: Island Dog Rescue/Facebook