Muskegon-area shelter welcomes animals of Harvey

A pet available for adoption at Noah Project as of Sept. 5, 2017.

FRUITPORT TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — As word spread of the 25 flood refugees now housed at the Noah Project, people crowded the small waiting area of the shelter on Airline Road.

“We’re not going to take anybody out of the kennels right now,” Noah Project executive director Tammy Owen said to the line of people Tuesday morning. “If you see anybody you like, keep them in mind, put them on your application.”

Sally Calkins was part of the crowd.

“I can’t imagine all the displaced dogs.” said Calkins, who had two goals in mind: adopt a pet and help pet owners in Harvey ravaged areas find theirs.

“It’s hard to watch the news and see everything that’s happening, hopefully this will help,” Calkins said.

Noah’s Project is one of many groups working to clear shelters in Texas and Louisiana.

One lesson learned by shelters from Hurricane Katrina was the lack of preparedness when it came to pets, both with and without homes.

This time, the Humane Society and other organizations developed a plan.

Shelters in Texas and Louisiana needed to be emptied out to make room for pets left homeless by the hurricane, with the hope they could be reunited with their families.

A lineup of people were at Noah Project to greet the pets who escaped from Hurricane Harvey.

It’s been a nationwide effort to coordinate various modes of transportation, including semitrailers delivering relief items to bring shelter dogs and other pets to shelters around the country so they can be adopted.

Some arrive feisty, some arrive tired from the journey and some seem just happy to be in a new home.

Noah Project expects more deliveries from the south this week. They are already working on a similar plan to accept shelter animals in the potential path of Hurricane Irma.

Noah Project, as well as other area shelters, are taking applications for the animals.

All of them are medically cleared for adoption, although some will need to be spayed or neutered.

Shelter organizers say the effort is also helping with human needs in the aftermath of the storm.

“Animals are companionship, people love their animals.” Owen said. “They’re part of their families, and we want to make sure we’re providing good homes for these animals.”