Here’s How Your Donations Helped A Struggling Animal Shelter Rebuild After Hurricane Delta

After Hurricane Delta blew through Louisiana, the Acadiana Animal Aid facility in New Orleans was left significantly damaged. The shelter’s transport and quarantine kennels were completely destroyed, and the walls of the cat cottage and roof of the shelter’s barn were starting to fall.

AAA had weathered Hurricane Laura in August, and was in the process of helping animals displaced by that disaster when Delta came back even stronger.

“At first we were trying to help these other communities, and then we needed to help ourselves,” said Jeanine Foucher, Executive Director of AAA.

Acadiana Animal Aid is one of the largest animal transport services in Louisiana.

Source: Facebook/Acadiana Animal Aid
Acadiana Animal Aid is one of the largest animal transport services in Louisiana.

The shelter was facing an estimated $75,000 in repairs to their buildings, not including the cost of replacing critical supplies.

That’s when Greater Good Charities stepped in to help.

As one of Greater Good Charities’ transport partners, AAA pulls in homeless pets from other parishes in the New Orleans area and routes them to new forever homes or finds them the veterinary care they need.

“Access to low cost spay neuter isn’t plentiful throughout the state,” Foucher says. “Transport is like a life saving strategy for so many animals here because there’s just too many animals and not enough adopters.”

AAA helps move adoptable pets to areas where they are more likely to find a home.

Source: Facebook/Acadiana Animal Aid
AAA helps move adoptable pets to areas where they are more likely to find a home.

We heard about AAA’s immediate need through our network of volunteers.

Heidi Paterson, Development Manager of AAA, has been providing critical support for the animals brought into her shelter before sending them toward a safe and stable future on ground and air transports. AAA is one of the largest transporters in Louisiana, making trips once a month to Colorado and Florida using their own transport vehicle. But with much of the animal holding areas destroyed by Delta, many homeless pets will be stuck in New Orleans, compounding the emergency.

Hurricane Delta destroyed some of Acadiana Animal Aid's kennels.

Source: Facebook/Acadiana Animal Aid
Hurricane Delta destroyed some of Acadiana Animal Aid’s kennels.

AAA applied for a grant for support through the Greater Good Charities. Funded through your donations, items purchased, and clicks at The Animal Rescue Site and, that support was dispatched swiftly in the form of in-kind supplies.

“The generous in-kind donation of pet supplies and toys arrived at a time when our shelter pets were in need of them the most,” Paterson told the Animal Rescue Site. “This donation replaced items that had been worn, lost, or destroyed. New toys provided a much-needed distraction to shelter pets who were stressed by recent events connected to the storm. In the short-term effect, this in-kind donation allowed us to more quickly recover from the storm and care for our shelter pets.”

AAA is one of's transport partners.

Source: Facebook/Acadiana Animal Aid
AAA is one of’s transport partners.

“We literally couldn’t be more grateful, not only for the product donations themselves, but for the way it makes the staff feel, and the morale,” Foucher said. “It’s these little things that we can give to the pets to provide enrichment. That means a lot, especially in the first couple of weeks after everything happened.”

Items donated to AAA include:

  • 200 Snuggle Paws Signature Pet Blankets
  • 25 Caitec Amazing Squeaker Balls
  • 50 Floating Dumbbell Dog Toys
  • 25 Jolly Pets Tuff Range Teeters
  • 50 cans of Authority Cat Hip & Joint Salmon
  • 25 packages of BKPK – Lazy Dog Co. Operation Drool Overload
  • 100 Stainless Steel Pet Dishes
  • 65 Raised Breathable Pet Bed
  • 175 Signature Comfort Reflective Dog Collars
  • 100 Signature Comfort Reflective Leashes
  • 25 Cat Coffee Break Toy Gift Set
  • 75 Felted Fish Pet Toys
  • 75 Cattail Cat Toys

These supplies will help shelter pets on AAA’s campus and in foster homes. The in-kind grant donations also helped the shelter concentrate its other funding on repair costs.

“We always want to make sure that our partnering shelters have what they need when things get destroyed,” said Denise Bash, Director of Disaster Response of Greater Good Charities.

A wall of kennels blown off by Hurricane Delta.

Source: Facebook/Acadiana Animal Aid
A wall of kennels blown off by Hurricane Delta.

Greater Good Charities is involved in rescue and relief efforts often before disasters hit. And when they do, coordinators and volunteers are already communicating with shelters in those regions to understand their greatest needs, Bash says.

“And then we’re ready to stand up resources immediately afterwards. We’re working on transports ahead of time with them,” she says. “When we can see a disaster coming, we’re in response before a storm hits, and our ability to continue to deliver relief supplies afterwards for an ongoing period helps make happy endings for a lot of families.”

Your donations have helped provide AAA with essential items so they can concentrate on rebuilding.

Source: Facebook/Acadiana Animal Aid
Your donations have helped provide AAA with essential items so they can concentrate on rebuilding.

In this case, it’s also helping adoptable pets find loving forever homes.

“It’s a matter of animal care, and it’s also a matter of helping them understand that we love and care for them as a community,” Bash says. “When that truck pulls up like Santa Claus, it’s amazing how much happiness it brings the human caregivers as well.”

Foucher agrees with the comparison.

We all joke that it’s kind of like Christmas in a way,” she said. “Whether it’s blankets or enrichment toys or collars and leashes and bowls, when you’re a nonprofit organization, you may not have that disposable income to cover those things. It’s a true gift.”

Supplies being delivered to AAA.

Source: Facebook/Acadiana Animal Aid
Supplies being delivered to AAA.

“These types of wonderful in-kind donations make a huge difference in the daily lives of shelter pets,” Foncher continued. “It gives them a feeling of being at home until their forever family arrives. Thank you so very much for making their lives better. The staff and shelter pets at Acadiana Animal Aid are most grateful. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.“

“Acadiana Animal Aid’s kitties were very happy too!” Paterson added. “It felt like Christmas in the cat wing and cat cottage. Thank you so very much!”

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Matthew Russell is a West Michigan native and with a background in journalism, data analysis, cartography and design thinking. He likes to learn new things and solve old problems whenever possible, and enjoys bicycling, spending time with his daughters, and coffee.
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