One of the lessons we have learned from disasters is that most people will not leave their pets behind. Fortunately there are now shelters in and around NYC that welcome people with their pets. But in other areas, owners were forced to separate or leave behind their animals, which made the tragedy that much more stressful and upsetting.
As I found out first-hand when I visited these hard-hit areas in and around the tri-state, one thing was clear — they consider their pets to be part of the family, and they want to protect them at ALL costs. Many I spoke with, from seniors to toddlers, expressed their deep love for their animals. And even though so many are left with only the clothes on their backs, they still felt "lucky" just to be alive and have their pets by their side.
As many also expressed, they would risk their own lives to save their pets! Another thing that really struck me and moved this animal lover to tears, was that even though their homes are gone, and their future is uncertain, they ALL still managed to muster up a smile just knowing their pets are now safe. It was an incredible sight to see, and it's the animals who are now providing these incredibly courageous people with the strength and comfort they so desperately need.
More: Water world: Photos of animals in flooded NY aquarium
Walruses on the move? Aquarium animals in Sandy's path may need new homes
Rush is on to rescue animals stranded in Sandy's wake
Video: Rescuing four-legged friends from Sandy
Superstorm Sandy showed need for estate planning for pets