As soon as the dust settled in Joplin, Mo., residents and volunteers from all over the region began work searching, mourning, rebuilding and restoring the town after parts of it were decimated by a tornado. As families searched picked through the rubble, trying to salvage possessions, cars, sanity, it became clear that the people of Joplin weren't the only ones who needed assistance.
There were also the animals.Family pets left to wander the debris, waiting for the return of their owners; animals needing medical attention; lost family members needing shelter while they waited to be claimed.
Two of Maple Woods' veterinary technology students took the needs of ALL of Joplin's residents to heart and went, along with hundreds of others, to assist the southwest Missouri community. Emily Dahl and Debbi Mitchell worked with the Missouri Veterinary Response Team to conduct search and rescue operations and set up a temporary shelter on the Missouri Southern State University campus. One of Joplin's seven animal facilities was completely destroyed, and most of the others were without power and running short on supplies. Emily and Debbi provided medical assistance, helped with trying to locate owners and generally caring for the misplaced animal
"I love animals, and going to help out with the animals seemed like it made the most sense. Pets are part of the family, and after everyone gets settled, they're going to come looking for them, and it will be great to hand over a beloved pet. It's part of the healing process."