Volunteers help care for the pets of Vermonters displaced by flooding

Published: Jul. 18, 2023 at 4:03 PM EDT
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BARRE, Vt. (WCAX) - As people displaced by flooding work to figure out what’s next in terms of finding new housing or rebuilding, volunteers at the Barre Ice Rink are taking care of their beloved pets, making sure their furry friends are ready to rejoin their families when their owners are ready.

“I ain’t going anywhere without those guys. I’ve had Sammy for eight years and he’s my pride and joy, and like I said, Catalina is only 11 weeks,” said Kimberly Carminati of Montpelier.

Carminati was told it will be between two weeks and two months before she can go home. She is staying at the Barre shelter with her cats Sammy and Catalina in the ice rink next door.

“They take care of Sammy and they feed him and do everything, and it’s awesome. I praise them very much because if they weren’t here, I’d be screwed. I’d have to leave my cats back at my place,” Carminati said.

Her cats are just two of around 30 pets currently being cared for by volunteers from the Central Vermont Disaster Animal Response Team. This group of volunteers stood up a shelter to care for the pets of people who have been displaced.

“We’re moving into long-term territory with animals who will be here for a while because people don’t have any options,” said Kate Taylor, a member of CVDART.

CVDART members walk, feed, and take care of the animals in their charge each day. Taylor says around 60 pets have come through the shelter so far.

“To see these people coming in, they’ve lost everything, and losing an animal at the same time is just not right,” Taylor said. “And if we can put in a few hours setting up a few crates and getting supplies, then why not do it?”

Taylor says they’ll keep the shelter going as long as they can, knowing it could be weeks if not months before some of the pet parents find stable housing again.