Therapy Dogs Are Providing Comfort to Hurricane Florence Victims in North Carolina

Therapy Dogs Hurricane Florence Evacuees
Therapy dogs are deployed to North Carolina to bring happiness to those who were evacuated due to Hurricane Florence. KTIV

Lending a helping paw. Victims of Hurricane Florence in Eastern North Carolina are receiving more than monetary help — they’re getting some four-legged comfort too.

According to The Charlotte Observer, Allstate and the Alliance of Therapy Dogs in Cheyenne, Wyoming, have teamed up to offer a cuddle with therapy dogs for those filing insurance claims in the area.

As Allstate spokesman Justin Herndon explained to the outlet, support pups became a part of the company’s mobile command operations after wildfires ravaged California. “You kind of learn what customers need and then evolve to that,” he said. “We found after the wildfires, which was a really emotional experience for a lot of families coming back to nothing, that something like therapy dogs might help. Sure enough, it has.”

Allstate’s call for help to ATD in North Carolina was met with plenty of enthusiasm.

“We didn’t know if we were going to get even 10,” he said. “But we had close to 80 who immediately responded, ‘Hey, I want to help. Tell me when and where.’ It’s another cool aspect of people wanting to help other people.”

Therapy dog owner Kellie Renzi told the Observer that animals such as her pooch, Darcy, are a big help to those suffering in the aftermath of the hurricane. “I think we’ll see a lot of folks who are going through one of the worst times in their lives,” she said. “So bringing a sense of normalcy and all that with our dogs will provide comfort to them.”

AllState plans to have a therapy canine at each of its 10 mobile operations in the North Carolina disaster areas, including New Bern and Wilmington.

As Us Weekly previously reported, humans have also been working to support man’s best friend: Truck driver Tony Alsup saved 64 dogs and cats from the storm’s path, telling The Washington Post, “These are lives, too.”

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