Raining, Cats & Dogs

September 29, 2017

“We are all here on earth to help others; what on earth the others are here for I don’t know.”
~ W. H. Auden

The recent hurricanes in Texas, Florida and the Caribbean, and Puerto Rico affected many people, destroyed homes and businesses, separated pets from their families, and left already homeless pets in crisis.  The earthquakes on September 7 and 19 in Mexico put a great many animals in distress as well.

My family includes my two cats, Sofia and Folster.  I have cared for them since they were one day old (they are both 15 years old now).  There is no question that, facing evacuation, I would never even consider leaving without them.  A lot of organizations have provided and continue to provide help reuniting pets with their families after these disasters as well as rescuing homeless animals from certain death.

Many wonderful non-profits are helping with overall disaster relief after these crisis, but if you would like to give some extra help to those who are focused on animal rescue, here is a list of folks doing good work who could use your donations:


Hurricanes Harvey (Texas) and Irma (Florida and the Caribbean):

AKC (American Kennel Club) Pet Disaster Relief  helps communities across the country be prepared to keep people with their pets during disasters.  The AKC Reunite Canine Support and Relief Fund provides resources, support, funds and other assistance to not-for-profit animal shelters and similar organizations providing care for domestic animals orphaned or displaced as a result of natural or civil disasters.

Austin Pets Alive is seeking families that can foster cats and large dogs, as well as cash donations.

Best Friends Animal Society is helping to reunite families with lost pets of Hurricane Irma.  Every penny of your Hurricane Irma gift will help reunite pets with families, help animals turned into shelters find homes, and help Florida’s rescues and shelters reestablish their operations.

Wings of Rescue dispatched planes into the disaster zone within hours of Hurricane Harvey striking Texas, and has been non-stop ever since, continuing straight through Hurricane Irma, as well as flying rescue missions from Puerto Rico.  It is estimated that over 100,000 pets have been displaced by the hurricanes.  Wings of Rescue’s rapid response team flew homeless pets out of shelters before the storms to make room for pets who were displaced and separated from families by the hurricanes and resulting floods.

Puerto Rico (Hurricane Maria):

Island Dog is located on the east coast in Luquillo, with spay and neuter programs in place throughout the island.  With the unexpected arrival of Hurricane Maria, Sali Gear, co-owner of Island Dog and resident of Virginia Beach, raised money and chartered a plane in two days that brought over 300 animals from affected areas in the Virgin Islands to her farm in Virginia Beach.  Your donation will help to fund more projects like this in the wake of the hurricane.

Second Chance Animal Rescue rescues, rehabilitates and secures permanent homes for abandoned and abused dogs found on the streets of Puerto Rico.  Second Chance provides each rescued animal with food, shelter, medical care and love.  If they are not able to place the rescue into a loving home, the animal is able to live out its life at their sanctuary.  After Hurricanes Maria and Irma, they are in desperate need of donations in order to help rebuild their rescue facility.

Human Society International
Helping in Mexico, Puerto Rico and the Caribbean:
A team of Mexican veterinarians from the Human Society International has been providing emergency animal rescue and treatment following the devastation left by the September 19 earthquake that shook Mexico.  HSI also deployed a team of veterinarians to Oaxaca following the powerful September 7 earthquake that shook that region.  According to their website, HSI Mexico’s response to both earthquakes has reached over 2, 155 animals so far.  HSI Animal Rescue teams have also been on the ground providing relief to animals in areas affected by hurricanes Irma and Maria.

For overall hurricane relief:

One America Appeal
For humans affected by hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, the 5 living ex-presidents (Obama, Bushes Sr. and Jr., Clinton and Carter) have joined together to help.  Every cent donated through the One America Appeal will help the victims recover.

Americone Dream Ice Cream:

Stephen Colbert donates all of the profits from his Americone Dream ice cream to charity.  In light of the recent disasters, Stephen has challenged celebrities to tweet awkward pre-teen photos with the hashtag #PuberMe.  For every celebrity who posts an awkward puberty-age photo, Stephen’s Americone Dream Fund will donate $1,000 to One America Appeal for Puerto Rico relief!  Us non-celebrities can do our part by buying a pint or several of Stephen’s deliciously caramel-swirled, fudge-covered waffle cone enhanced vanilla ice cream.  You can enjoy your pint(s) while scrolling down through the awkward celebrity teen-age photos here: #PuberMe.  Hint: John Oliver and Conan O’Brien take the prize for dorkiest teens, in my humble opinion.


After you finish your pint of Americone Dream, make a super-creamy and super-dreamy Coconut Crusted Banana Cream Pie.

Coconut Crusted Banana Cream Pie
Your gluten-avoiding friends will love that this pie crust is made from crisp, buttery, shredded coconut.  Everyone else will love it just because its amazing.  The recipe can be made in a standard 9-inch pie pan, an 8″ x 8″ baking pan, or, as I did, in two 7″ or 8″ shallow bowls.  Unsweetened dried coconut flakes can be found at Trader Joe’s or in the bulk bin of your Whole Foods or local health food store.

2 & 1/2 cups unsweetened coconut flakes
3 tablespoons powdered sugar
5 tablespoons milk, water or coconut water
6 tablespoons butter

2 cups organic whole milk
1 (3.8 oz) package organic vanilla cooked pudding and pie filling mix

2 medium-sized bananas
8 oz organic heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Extra flaked coconut to decorate


To make Crust:
In a medium mixing bowl, stir 3 tablespoons powdered sugar into the coconut.  Add 5 tablespoons milk and stir to coat evenly.  Let sit 30 minutes or so, until coconut absorbs the sweetened milk.  Stir once or twice during the 30 minutes.

In a large sauté pan, melt butter over medium heat.  When it starts to sizzle, add coconut and sauté, stirring often at first, then continuously until coconut is golden brown.  Be sure to scrape the bottom of the pan as you stir to incorporate all the caramelized bits.  Remove from heat.  Let cool several minutes and press into pie pan to form a crust.  Cover and chill in fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Make filling:
Follow directions on the pudding mix package.  Let cool to the point where the pudding is still warm, but not super hot.  Stir a few times during cooling.

Remove crust from fridge.  Peel bananas and slice 1/4 inch thick.  Place a layer of bananas on top of crust (but not up the sides).  Pour filling over bananas.  Cover surface with plastic wrap, so as not to form a skin.  Chill pie at least 4 hours or overnight.

To serve:

Whip Cream:
Chill a medium bowl along with beaters and a small whisk.  Add cream to chilled bowl and beat with an electric mixer to soft peaks.  Add 1/4 cup powdered sugar and the vanilla extract. Finish beating the cream to stiff peaks (finishing by hand helps ensure that the whipped cream will hold its shape).

Top chilled pie with whipped cream and sprinkle with dried coconut flakes (no need to sweeten these).

Serves 8

4 Responses to “Raining, Cats & Dogs”

  1. Jordania

    Thank you for the referrals to help the four legged or winged members of our families that are sometimes overlooked. I’d be lost without mine❤️

  2. Gina

    I was thinking of you and your birdies after I posted and how the organizations whose links I shared didn’t specifically mention bird companions. So, I just did some research and found that many pet-friendly evacuation centers do accept birds.

    This article includes a detailed hurricane preparedness plan for bird owners (but many of the tips would apply to other disasters):

    Scroll down this ASPCA article for “Special considerations for birds”:

    Finally, I thought this story would warm your heart. This Puerto Rico Student saved more than 90 wild birds and sheltered them from the storm in her house. Then afterwards, when it was safe, let them fly away:

  3. Frankie

    Having six birds and many other animals, it was great to see caring for birds. What a beautiful thing seeing the bird being so cared for thru all the trauma the locals were dealing with. Caring for each other is all we have in life. Thanks this uplifted my day, especially after Las Vegas.

  4. Gina

    I’m so glad it lifted your day! I am in constant search for the uplifting around us – anything to keep my mind and heart focused on the light at the end of the dark tunnel that is 2017 😉. Here’s something else to brighten your day: Stephen Colbert’s Americone Dream Fund/PuberMe effort ended up raising 1 million dollars for Puerto Rico relief!! He announced it last night! Yay! Helping one another! and ice cream! 🤗