When Michelle Gregory saw the devastation that followed Hurricane Harvey’s landfall – especially all of the displaced animals – she found a way to jump on a plane from California and travel here to help.
Having worked in animal sheltering for the SPCA for five years, and then most recently at a private veterinary practice for over a year, Michelle could not stand idly by while she saw pets in need. She reached out to family and friends, asking them to sponsor a week trip out to Houston to help. She arrived to Houston on Tuesday, September 15, 2017.
“I am motivated to aid in animal relief work in memory of my dog Olive, who passed away tragically soon after adopting her,” Michelle said. “I can empathize with the agony these owners feel with not knowing where their animals are.”
Seeing Austin Pets Alive! and Houston Pets Alive! working together, Michelle split her time between both organizations, because they seemed to be the first on the ground amidst the devastating flooding. Since she arrived, she’s been assisting in any task she could:
“I’ve helped with intake, ran blood tests, organized donations, filled medication prescriptions, cleaned kennels and joined the dog walking teams,” Michelle said.
Michelle says she’s been impressed with everyone she’s met so far! From her experience so far, she says every single person is helping for the same reason: To save lives. She’s heard many stories in her short time here already – from other out-of-state volunteers traveling by motor home to help Houston Pets Alive! to a gentleman who boated people and animals out of their flooded home.
“It’s one thing to hear and see photos online, but another to be here and talk to these individuals yourself,” Michelle said. “It’s incredible how the community, and beyond, have come together for animals.”
If Michelle traveling here to volunteer wasn’t already amazing, she has also helped out in another way – by donating!
Michelle believes without organizations like Houston Pets Alive!, animals would be running the streets or in over-crowded shelters, never given a chance to be reunited with their former home or placed in a new home.
Our team was lucky enough to hear some of Michelle’s favorite moments from volunteering so far:
“My favorite thing is to receive doggie licks & kitty head-butts when volunteering,” Michelle said. “I feel like that’s the animal’s way of thanking me for being there and a job well done!”
When she’s not selflessly traveling to Texas to help with Hurricane Harvey relief efforts, you can find Michelle reading, meditating, and spending time with her fiancé and fur babies. She is a mom to three rescues: Two cats named Fern and Wilma and a cattle
dog, collie, and terrier mix named Jax!
Michelle set out to Houston to make her family and friends back home proud. We think she’s done this and more!
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Michelle, Houston Pets Alive! has been incredibly lucky to have you. We are so grateful for your willingness to travel all the way from California to help and jump in where you’re needed. You embody the spirit of giving back and are helping to foster this within our community and across the country. Thank you! We could not be more grateful for your service, and hope you have taken great pride in the work you’ve accomplished here.
Cheers to volunteers who become family, along with doggie licks and kitty head-butts – cheers to a job well done!
By Melissa Daigneault, HPA! Blogger