Sali Gear is a Virginia Beach resident and a co-founder of Island Dog Rescue. She intends to evacuate all of the pets from the three islands of the US Virgin Islands. It’s following Hurricane Irma’s devastation in the region.
The island that covers the evacuation includes St. Thomas, St. John, and St. Croix island. Gear arranged the transportation of 20 animals to the United States. However, when Hurricane Maria made landfall, she had to make some quick changes to her plan.
She voluntarily offered to transport pets away from the islands for free. Gear also hired a private jet to carry all of the animals back to Norfolk, Virginia, rather than flying them out separately. They then transported the animals to Gear’s farm or put them in the care of volunteers and rescue organizations around the country.
They also saved abandoned dogs and animals who were still in the shelters. Gear told WAVY 10 in Virginia Beach that saving the animals is a difficult task. The whole time, Gear was on the island.
She rescued over 300 dogs and cats that they collected on the island of St. Thomas. She then prepared boats to transport them to another two islands. She used the Facebook page of her rescue group to ask for support from the public.
Among the items she requested were volunteers, blankets, bedding, pet food, water, and feces scoops. She raised $112,000 in donations and paid for the private jet with her own money. They also gave the animals to shelters or other rescue organizations.
Some people from Boston and Pittsburgh adopted a few of the animals Gear brought to Virginia. Gear said that all the hard work was worth it. It was also thanks to many people who moved the heavens and the earth to help with their rescue operation.