Our hearts continue to go out to the people of Hawaii who have been affected by devastating wildfires this week. At least 99 people have died from the fires and thousands have been displaced from their homes.
As is the case in any disaster like this, animals have also been affected. The Maui Humane Society has been in crisis mode, caring for a surge of lost pets, many burnt and suffering from smoke inhalation.
But in an inspiring bit of good news, the shelter has successfully reunited one lost dog with his family.
According to a Facebook post, a dog named Roman was with his dog sitter when the fires started in Lahaina on Tuesday. The dog walker reportedly had to jump into the water for safety, but instead of following her into the water Roman got scared and ran off.
Roman was found by an employee of Goodfellow Bros. construction company; a good samaritan then brought him to a humane enforcement officer from the Maui Humane Society.
Roman suffered burns on his paws, legs and body during the fires. He received treatment for his injuries from the humane society.
Thankfully, Roman was microchipped, and rescue staff were able to contact his owners, who quickly came over to pick up their lost pup. “Roman is now safe and with his ohana and doing well according to his owners,” Maui Humane Society wrote.
Roman was reportedly the first dog displaced by the recent wildfires to be reunited with his owners, but hopefully will not be the last.
The Maui Humane Society has been hard at work over the past few days, struggling to keep up with the “inundation of hundreds of animals” who have come into their care due to the fires.
“Maui Humane Society is asking for help as the island grapples with the unprecedented and catastrophic impact of the ongoing Maui fires,” they wrote on Facebook. “The fires have left thousands of both humans and animals displaced, causing immense distress and creating an urgent need for solidarity within the community.”
Many of the lost animals have suffered from burns smoke inhalation and required critical medical care. To keep up with the demand, the shelter has asked people to donate funds and supplies, as well as for locals to take in pets as emergency fosters. They also asked people to help with communications and social media to help lost pets reunite with their owners.
Thankfully, people have come through: a Facebook fundraiser has received over half a million dollars in donations so far, and workers say the outpouring of support has been inspiring to see.
“The community has just stepped up like crazy,” Katie Shannon, Maui Humane Society’s marketing director, told the Washington Post. “It brought the majority of our staff to tears.”
We’re so glad Roman is home safe and sound, and hope many more of Hawaii’s pets will also return to their families soon ❤️ Please share this news!