Michelle Amaral didn’t know Allison Graves and Leigh-Anne Boldin Caputo before the tornadoes struck Alabama, but they quickly became friends on Facebook as they launched an effort to help lost pets find their way home.
"I was searching online yesterday to find ways to help," said Amaral, who volunteers at the Shelby Humane Society.
Though a mutual friend, she found a Facebook page created by Graves and Boldin to help people post reports of lost and found pets. Another friend, Jessica Bush, and Amaral created a mirror website on Wordpress, Alabama Tornado Animals (http://altornadoanimals.wordpress.com), so people outside Facebook could see the pictures.
The site includes contacts and practical recommendations for people who have lost or found pets, sections for photos of pets that have been lost or found, and contact information for local shelters and veteranarians, all tied together with a simple tab navigation.
"We’ve had over 4,000 hits so far," Amaral said.
In addition to e-mailing the site to post a photo and description, Amaral recommends directly contacting the shelters and veterinarians on the website to find information about lost pets. “It helps if you have a picture. Of course, with the power out in so many areas, it make take some time to get through,” she added.
So far, the organizers have received reports of one family reunited with their dog and a possible home for an injured cat.
Amaral reports that her cats are safe at home with her. “I came home early before the tornadoes just to be sure that they were safe,” said the Birmingham resident.