New family found through Irma


Macy McClintock, Managing Editor

Downed power lines and uprooted trees scattered the Tampa area after Hurricane Irma struck last week, but those weren’t the only things dispersed by the storm. Many owners left their pets behind when they evacuated, leaving the animals stranded and without a home.

But Kaitlyn Patterson (’20) and step brothers Matthew (’19) and Ethan Hunter (’19)  decided to do something about the dogs left behind. When they heard a cry for help, they fostered three pups through the storm.

“The dogs helped with our anxiety through the storm,” Patterson said. “We were able to know that we had something there to hold and comfort us.”

Patterson’s uncle is the manager of the Dale Mabry Animal Hospital and took in dogs who didn’t have homes for the storm. Patterson’s family evacuated to his house in Brandon for the storm, where she was greeted by a jack russell terrier, a miniature pincher and a mutt named Nelly.

Nelly’s 80 year-old owner has been in the Intensive Care Unit fighting cancer, leaving him unable to care for his dog, who has been living in the animal hospital.

After immediately clicking with Nelly, the Pattersons talked to the owner about giving Nelly a new home, and now she is happily apart of the family.

“There are seven of us in our family and she seems to bring us all together.” Patterson said.

The other dogs went back to the hospital after hurricane Irma because they were not ready to be released yet.

“We’re just so lucky to have found a dog that’s the perfect fit for us,” Patterson said. “she is rambunctious and crazy and fits in perfectly with our family.”

The American Society for the Prevention of the Cruelty of Animals (ASPCA) set up a “mega emergency shelter” in South Carolina to care for over 600 shelter animals that were in the way of Irma’s path. Click here to donate.