Pet supply donation drive to benefit Bahamas shelters

Sep 18, 2019

Those who stop by Wal-Mart from 2-7 p.m. this week may see Scooby Doo collecting pet supply donations for animal shelters in the Bahamas that were ravaged by Hurricane Dorian.

Odie’s Place Animal Rescue is holding their third annual hurricane relief drive from a truck parked at the chain store’s entrance, and a volunteer dressed like the famous cartoon dog is drumming up support for the cause.

“We saw what was going on with Hurricane Dorian, we saw there was a need to help,” said Brian Harrington from Odie’s Place.

There are two shelters in the Bahamas that Odie’s Place will be donating to. “One of the shelters lost 117 animals in one night,” Harrington said. “Some of the volunteers stayed, and didn’t survive.”

Three years ago, Harrington decided to start a donation drive after a hurricane tore through Houston. 

“We have a big stray animal population here, but it’s nothing compared to Houston,” he explained. “They have a million stray animals in Houston...And every donation drive we saw going on, we essentially saw nothing on any wishlist that was pet-related, animal-related.”

So they moved in to fill the gap, collecting bags of dog and cat food, water, crates, bedding, and toys for animals displaced or otherwise affected by the natural disaster.

That first year, he said, they spent two weeks and collected 23,000 pounds of supplies.

In 2018, another hurricane struck in North Carolina, so they gathered 8,000 pounds of items in a week and drove it down themselves in a U-Haul.

“Last year we decided to take matters into our own hands,” Harrington said with a smile. “We saw what happened in North Carolina, we saw the devastation there...And we personally drove that U-Haul down to Wayne County, North Carolina.”

They brought the goods to the Humane Society down there and posted it online so those who donated could see the results. “The whole journey’s on YouTube,” Harrington noted.

This year’s drive is another week-long effort, in which Odie’s Place is joined by other local organizations and companies in drives taking place in locations all over the South Coast.

Harrington hopes to collect over 5,000 pounds of donations to ship to the devastated islands.

And if plans to send it to Florida for shipping overseas don’t work out, they can once again just drive it down to Florida themselves. 

“Penske has donated this truck,” he said, “and they are more than okay with us going to Ft. Lauderdale.”

Harrington added that he was “blown away” by the local response. “The New Bedford Registry of Deeds, they are doing their own drive, and on Friday they’re bringing it to us,” he said. 

PetSmart in Bourne is also filling up a trailer with donations in what Harrington described as a “friendly competition” to see who can gather the most before sending it off to pets in need.

“I think we’re filling a need that’s not being done,” he said. “It’s one of those things you don’t want to have to do...But there’s devastation every year.”