Fortunately Chella Phillips has a big master bedroom, but even so, conditions got a little crowded. Photo by Chella Phillips/Facebook

As Hurricane Dorian Loomed This Woman Opened Her Home to 97 Dogs

As Hurricane Dorian bore down on the Bahamas, one woman worried about the tiny island nation’s homeless dogs. So she decided to take 97 of them into her own home. You see, she knew many of them wouldn’t otherwise survive the massive Category 5 hurricane if she didn’t.

Hurricane Dorian was about to wreak havoc

“79 of them are inside my master bedroom,” Chella Phillips posted Sunday on Facebook. “It has been insane since last night.”

To make the transition easier for the dogs, Phillips transformed her home into a place where stress was minimized, The Washington Post reports. She kept the air conditioner running and put on music “in all directions of the house,” she wrote. Neighbors pitched in, donating crates which helped “the scared ones and the sick ones.”

Now they were safe

Phillips, who runs “The Voiceless Dogs of Nassau, Bahamas,” a refuge for homeless and abandoned dogs, did what she could to barricade the outside of her home as Dorian slowly ripped a path of destruction. The hurricane killed at least 45 people and left at least 70,000 homeless. Hundreds are still unaccounted for.

The refuge has helped about 1,000 dogs since it’s opening four years ago. Ironically, the grand opening occurred on the anniversary of the day Phillips opened her home to the nearly 100 dogs.

Fortunately, the refuge weathered the hurricane. In an interview by phone Phillips told ABC Action News that although power was lost and a little water entered her home, everyone was okay. But it was definitely a stressful situation for Phillips and her brother — lightning strikes left all of her TVs fried. That, she noted meant “no more cartoons for the sick dogs.”

But at least they lived to see a new day.

Dorian has left and the healing has begun

And the refuge has gained quite a following, with her post about rescuing the pooches going viral almost instantly,. It got some 90,000 likes in the week since she posted. Phillips followed that up with another post a few hours later, noting the dogs were making friends.

“Everyone here gets along and welcome the newcomers with tail wags cause they know they are their brothers and sisters in suffering on the streets,” she wrote. “Each one of my babies deserve to have loving homes.”

The hurricane lingered to wreak havoc throughout most of the weekend. Phillip’s brother only managed one hour of sleep while she went without during the ordeal so that she could comfort the terrified dogs.

Phillips wrote that she was grateful for all the support she received, but still, she said she wished she could do more.

“I pray for the other islands who have unimaginable damages and I don’t see how any dogs or any living being could have survived outside. My heart goes out to them.”

“Thank you for the outpouring support and heartfelt prayers from so many people that don’t even know us, my post from yesterday went viral and total strangers are reaching out to us giving us the exposure that we need so bad…

Thank you!”

Even Dorian couldn’t dampen people’s spirits

But perhaps this is the best news: in early August Phillips had started a fundraiser that was unrelated to the hurricane. She’d asked for $20,000 but in Dorian’s aftermath donations skyrocketed past $295,000.

Perhaps one Facebook user put it best:

“The world is behind you and your efforts.”

It’s definitely proof of what we can accomplish if we put our heads together. Want to donate to Chella Phillips’ fundraiser? Check it out here. And for other ways to help animals affected by the hurricane, here’s some useful information.

Featured image by Chella Phillips/Facebook

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Written by Megan Colleen

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