The devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma is unfathomable. My deepest sympathy goes out to those who have lost their homes, their lives, and their pets.
Making a Positive Difference for Pet Owners
In the wake of these recent tragedies, there have been so many who have reached out to help those in need. My dad, his girlfriend Cathy, and his two precious dogs were on the receiving end of this kindness.
Since I am an avid pet lover, I want to share this heartwarming story about families and their pets during the Hurricane Irma evacuation.
The Search for a Place to Stay
When my dad and Cathy were ordered to evacuate Florida, he couldn’t find a hotel. He called me and asked if I could try to find him one that would allow pets. It seemed like a nearly impossible task, as over 6 million Florida residents were also looking for hotel rooms. In addition, so many hotels have “no pet” policies. He and Cathy were willing to sleep in their car—the pets are non-negotiable in our family.
Luckily, I was able to find them a room in Valdosta, Georgia at the Hilton Garden Inn, which is a four-and-a-half-hour drive from where they live. What my dad didn’t anticipate was the trip taking nearly 13 hours because the highways were gridlocked.
They eventually made it to their destination at 3 a.m. and checked in to a hotel that normally would not allow pets. Throughout their stay of six nights at the Hilton Garden Inn Valdosta, my dad could not get over how accommodating the hotel was to the families and their pets. He found out that many hotels were charging an extra $100 per night for pets, but not the Hilton Garden Inn Valdosta.
The Pets at the Hilton Garden Inn Valdosta
Many people just hung out at the hotel with their pets. My dad said the camaraderie among the guests and their pets was amazing. He shared so many stories with me throughout his stay, and I want to pass them along to you.
This family has two teenagers, a newborn, and their dog Zoe. They were willing to sleep in their car so their precious Zoe could stay with them. When they found a room at the Hilton Garden Inn Valdosta, they were ecstatic.
This is Daisy. She just had major surgery. Daisy’s mom was panicked and didn’t know what she was going to do, because Daisy needed shelter and care. The Hilton Garden Inn Valdosta gladly welcomed them.
A lot of the people staying at the Hilton Garden Inn Valdosta were elderly, and their dogs were their only family. This beautiful lady has lived in Florida for 30 years. With her dog being elderly and having difficulty walking, she was so grateful to have a place for herself and her pet.
So Much Kindness for Evacuees
Most of the hotel staff was working overtime to accommodate the evacuees and their pets. However, the kindness didn’t stop at the hotel. A church group was offering food on the side of the road for those who were evacuating Florida.
I am so grateful there are people who were kind enough to help relieve some of the stress for my family during such a difficult time. Although the water level reached the porch of my dad’s home, we are blessed he didn’t have any damage.
Again, my heart goes out to those who have lost so much during this tragic time. If you would like to make a donation to help the victims of Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma, I have compiled a list of reputable charities on the blog post Helping the Hurricane Victims.