The Louisiana flood of 2016—the most catastrophic natural disaster in the U.S. since Hurricane Sandy—displaced thousands of people from their homes. But people weren’t the only ones affected—animals were, too: More than 3,300 were rescued from the rising waters.
Thankfully, we have countless heroes risking their lives to save the animals stranded by the flood waters—such as shelter workers and volunteers, volunteer pilots (who fly animal victims out of the area), and these two men in a boat who rescued this frightened pit bull in need:
These animal victims—some surrendered or saved, others moved from area shelters (either flooded or to open up spaces for those saved)—need new homes desperately. What can we do to help them? Here are some ways you can make a difference in their lives today (no matter how far away you live from the impact zone):
If you’re local to the area
Many Louisiana shelters are overwhelmed with animals or completely flooded. If you live locally and are in a place to help, you can donate much-needed supplies (like wet and dry food, cat litter, food bowls), offer to volunteer or foster, or even choose adoption—giving these animals a warm, loving home and a second chance at life. Companion Animal Alliance in Baton Rouge and Jefferson SPCA are two Louisiana shelters with animal victims available for adoption. St. Landry Parish and Animal Rescue in Opelousas, Louisiana, has reported they are in desperate and immediate need of people to take in 55 dogs they have no room for. (More volunteer opportunities, to help not just the animals but also their people, can be found here).
If you live in a nearby state
Quite a few shelters outside of Louisiana are housing animals rescued from the floods. As mentioned above, ways to help include: volunteering, fostering, donations and adoption. So if you live in Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Ohio or Texas, check out:
- Atlanta Humane Society
- Englewood Animal Sanctuary in Florida (one rescue includes dog Mojo, who “treaded water for days” in Baton Rouge before his rescue)
- Geauga Humane Society Rescue Village in Ohio
- Hampton Roads in Norfolk, Virginia
- Humane Society of Saline County in Arkansas
- SPCA of Dallas
- Virginia Beach SPCA in Virginia
Even if you live far away
Louisiana may be hundreds (or even thousands) of miles away from where you are right now. And perhaps funds are tight this month and you don’t have any spare change to donate. That’s OK—you can still help through the power of meditation. Meditation is something I can always grab onto, no matter how difficult the situation.
Here is a special meditation I created that you can do right now to help keep these courageous animals in your heart:
Special Reiki Courage Meditation for Displaced Animals
To start, open yourself to the energy of courage and trust. Sit in a comfortable position in a quiet space, spine straight, shoulders and arms relaxed. Relax your entire body as you breathe deeply a few times.
Imagine there are roots growing down from the base of your spine, deep and wide into the earth. Imagine that the powerful, grounding energy of the earth can flow up these roots into your heart center, giving you stability and peace. Take 10 breaths, and on each in-breath, feel the earth energy coming up into your heart. On each out-breath, release any emotions, fears or worries you may feel inside you. With each successive breath, feel more and more stillness and stability within you.
Once you have completed the 10 breaths, allow yourself to sit for several minutes in the space of earth energy and stability that you have created with your breath. Once you feel yourself fully calm and connected to the earth, bring the animals affected by the flood to your mind. Imagine that your heart can expand out of your body, creating a beautiful state of courage and trust all around you. Call upon any memories or experiences that may help you to truly feel bravery and deep trust within your body, mind and spirit.
Once you feel a strong sense of being courage, simply invite the animals into the space. Imagine that within this heart space, all is harmonious and balanced. Feel a strong bond of trust connecting your heart to the hearts of all animals displaced by the floods. Let go of your expectations (along with any worries about what needs to be healed) and continue to breathe the courage and calm of earth energy into your heart as you share this beautiful space of light and healing.
How do you plan to help the animals affected by the Louisiana flood of 2016? Feel free to share in the comments below.