“What a group of humankind that found their way to each other.”
South Carolina resident Christine Meinhold is no stranger to hurricanes—two of her seven rescue dogs were saved from Hurricane Matthew in 2016. But with Hurricane Florence’s sights set on her Myrtle Beach home earlier this week, Meinhold and her pack found themselves in an increasingly dangerous situation.
“I really don’t have the resources to evacuate with seven dogs,” she explained to CNN. “When I rescued these dogs, I took on a responsibility of loving and caring for them the rest of their lives.”
Though she has family in Tennessee, Meinhold said her car has around 205,000 miles on it, and she couldn’t stand to risk it breaking down. With no other options, she planned to stay put.
CNN viewers were understandably moved by her story when it aired Wednesday, but what a handful of them did next, is truly astonishing.
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After learning of her dilemma, strangers began reaching out to Meinhold on Facebook, and in no time, a crowdfunding campaign to get her and her dogs out of harm’s way was born.
The organizer of the campaign, Palms Springs-based radio host Kate Zenna, told CNN that she started raising funds because she "wasn't able to let all those dogs perish."
"I went to rescue dogs alone after Katrina and what I saw will never be forgotten. And now I am living with a lot of dogs and always have a plan," Zenna continued.
Around 15 people from all over the U.S. came together to coordinate an evacuation for Meinhold and her dogs. Zenna said their initial plan was to purchase a 2009 Dodge Journey with a generous single $5,200 donation, but when that fell through, they ended up renting a U-Haul van. By 8pm on Thursday, September 13, Meinhold and her pups were loaded in the donated van.
Volunteer Trudy Schilder shared an update on Facebook along with photos of the dogs in the airconditioned van. According to Schilder, Meinhold and her canines reached their destination safely early Friday morning.
“What a group of humankind that found their way to each other,” Schilder wrote. “One dark and stormy night...15 amazing, kind, compassionate humans came together to make this happen...”
Now if that’s not a heartwarming tale, we don’t know what is!