NORMAN — One animal-loving couple from Florida drove all the way to Norman Saturday to deliver an RV full of donated pet supplies to help animals displaced by the May 20 tornado.
Steve and BJ Hansen from The Villages, Fla., arrived in Norman Saturday morning at Fur Night and Day, a pet daycare at Flood Avenue and Venture Drive, with an RV full of bags of dog and cat food, pet cages, animal medical supplies and various other supplies. They unloaded some supplies in the daycare but Second Chance Animal Sanctuary will take charge of the donations and divide them among other smaller animal sanctuaries.
“My husband and I are great animal lovers,” B.J. Hansen said.
The two are passionate about helping animals affected by natural disasters, so whenever they see a wildfire, hurricane or tornado in the news they rush to help the animals in the area.
“Animals are often thought of last,” she said.
Since people are so concerned about helping people in areas affected by natural disasters, it’s easy to forget “the little ones” who have also suffered, she said.
So when they saw the destruction of the May 20 tornado in Moore on the news, they started thinking about ways they could help.
The Hansens were already planning on taking a trip out west this summer, so B.J. asked her veterinarian if the animal hospital would put something on their website asking for donations, she said. Their local newspaper wrote an article about the Hansens’ plan and pretty soon bags upon bags of pet food and other supplies crowded the front lobby of the animal hospital — so much that the Hansens are going to take another trip in September to bring the rest.
Once the Hansens began receiving donations, BJ started calling animal shelters in Norman and Moore, she said. The employees she spoke to at the bigger shelters said they already were overstocked with supplies. Then someone told her to call Second Chance, an animal shelter that rescues pets from euthanization at other shelters.
When Hansen called Kay Stout, Second Chance executive director, Stout said she was more than happy to take in the donations, because she knew she could share them with other small pet sanctuaries that didn’t receive the same attention larger shelters did when the tornado hit.
“It’s amazing to me how people have been wanting to help,” Stout said. “It reaffirms my faith in the human spirit to see them load their RV with supplies and drive all the way here.”
This donation means a lot to Second Chance because, unlike some other animal shelters, it’s a nonprofit run completely off donations, said Diana Kapaun, head of volunteers at Second Chance. The animal sanctuary has been functioning off of “people’s kindness” since it began about 24 years ago in a woman’s garage, Second Chance now has its own building at 4500 24th Ave.
“The more that people donate to us the longer we stay open,” she said.