I have never written a post like this before. As you all know, I live in Nashville, which is located in the heart of Tennessee. My state is bordered on the east by the Smoky Mountains, an absolutely gorgeous area that is teeming with wildlife like bears, eagles, deer, etc. Dollywood theme park is located there, and the incredible Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies, and a ton of other tourist destinations. Unfortunately, the area is currently being devastated by wildfires that are exacerbated by the fact that the south is currently in the middle of the worst drought in years. The city of Gatlinburg underwent a mandatory evacuation last night.
I have been so, so sad thinking about the area being ravaged. I have vacationed in Gatlinburg and it’s such a lovely place. Before I went to bed last night, I read that the staff of the aquarium had been forced out, leaving nearly 11,000 animals behind as the fires drew closer to it. It was a relief to find out this morning that the aquarium was saved and its creatures were all reported to be in good health. The Eagle Mountain Bird Sanctuary at Dollywood was safely evacuated yesterday. But others have not been as lucky.
The Sevier County Humane Society stood in direct path of the wildfires, and the status of its facility is not known at the time I am writing this. All animals were evacuated safely and were taken in by other shelters and rescues. But unfortunately, as humans are being forced into refugee centers, many of them are having to temporarily surrender their pets to the humane society. There are other pets being brought in with injuries. Livestock is left without food as their fields burn.
There is a tremendous need right now that I am hoping we can help fill.
From the Sevier County Humane Society page, “So many are asking our largest need…… It is monetary donations to our medical fund.” I have donated and I am hoping that if you are able, you will donate too.
The Sevier County Humane Society has a YouCaring page set up taking donations here: https://www.youcaring.com/seviercountyhumanesociety-702875
You could also donate directly through their site, though it’s currently running very slowly: http://www.sevierhumane.org/home/donate
If animals aren’t your thing, and you’re still compelled to donate, there is a list of charitable organizations and the ways you can reach them here: http://wate.com/2016/11/29/how-to-help-smoky-mountain-fire-evacuees/
Please keep TN in your thoughts!
(all photos are from Facebook, where they’re being shared)