September 25, 2017: Thirty-two patients needing medical attention in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands were evacuated from Gov. Juan F. Luis Hospital and Medical Center this past weekend.
With only two days to plan before Maria made landfall, Gear had to raise the money to charter a plane so she could rescue 300 animals who were in harm's way. But they're also calling on people who took animals in during the hurricane to come forward about where they found the pets and what condition they were in.
That's where Island Dog Rescue, based out of Virginia Beach, comes in to help. 'People have moved Heaven and Earth to make this happen'.
Gear, a Virginia Beach resident, co-owns Island Dog Rescue, a local nonprofit that specializes in saving dogs from the U.S. Virgin Islands, where she grew up. Those 300-plus animals landed safely in Virginia on Tuesday evening; each of them had a note taped to their kennels that read, "I survived Hurricane Irma".
Almost 50 dogs had been rescued by state authorities in Florida before Irma even hit. "She needs supplies, donations and help walking dogs".
'I did it because it had to be done, ' she told the Pilot.
"The puppy room and cat room are completely gone", Gear said.
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals says they're still finding animals alone wherever the storm hit.
"They all seem happy", she said.
The pets were most likely experiencing some degree of trauma when they arrived: They'd been in cages since the storm hit, and many had lost their family members in the hurricane.
'I think sometimes how word gets out on social media surprises me, ' Gear told WAVY.com. "They definitely need us". 'But the heart of people, no I'm not surprised by how people act'.
"Our relocation teams will identify shelters across the country that are in the position to help find these animals homes, and our teams will start moving them to their new destinations just as quickly as we possibly can".