Walking near a mountain of dog food, Tiffany Chancellor-Pacheco bends down to pick up her new best friend to take her on her morning walk.
In the two weeks since they met at the Animal Resource Center, Chancellor-Pacheco and Zoey, a small terrier with huge pointy ears, have become close.
Chancellor-Pacheco said she has hardly left the center since more than 300 dogs were brought there in the aftermath of the May 19 and 20 tornadoes in Moore, Carney and Shawnee.
“Every morning when Zoey hears my voice she gets excited,” she said. “She has crawled right into my heart. I guess that's what happens when you work more than 12 hours for two weeks straight.”
Chancellor-Pacheco said that in the first couple days after the storm, dozens of people would show up every day to claim their furry friend. But her concerns are growing for the 60 animals remaining.
“Their little bodies are just worn out,” she said. “We want them to go back to their home and find their family.”
The Animal Resource Center, 7949 S I-35 Service Road, along with three other shelters who are taking care of displaced pets, will host an adoption day on June 23 for the animals who haven't been claimed.
The shelter will also work with residents who don't have a home anymore to foster their dog or keep it in a shelter until they do find a suitable place to stay.
Christina Clopton, 57, and her son Danny Carver, 36, spent the morning on Tuesday visiting their dog, Summer, and their cat, Tybet, who have been staying at the Animal Resource Center while Clopton looks for a new home.
Clopton said she was horrified when she realized she only had a few minutes to get out of her Moore home before the tornado hit. She had to make the decision to leave her pets because she didn't have enough time to round them all up.
Once they were able to get back to the house after the storm, Danny began digging and found Summer underneath a fallen wall. The dog bounded up and ran straight for her mama.
“She shot out and ran straight for me and that was it for me,” she said. “Knowing that she is alive and survived is such a relief and we get to go home tomorrow because we finally found a place to live.”
In addition to housing pets that were displaced, the center also has stockpiled pet food, bowls, leashes, cages, toys and treats for anyone affected by recent storms to come and take if they need it.
The center is still in need of volunteers to help walk and feed dogs. They are also looking for a laundry service to help them with all of their dirty laundry.
Chancellor-Pacheco said she'll continue to work long hours to make sure all the animals have what they need until they are reunited with their family or adopted by a new one.
“Every morning I get here at 6 a.m. to make sure each dog is getting what they need,” she said. “I feel completely withdrawn from the world right now because all my time has been dedicated to making sure these animals are being taken care of but I don't feel like I'm giving up anything.”
7949 S I-35 Service Road Oklahoma City, OK, 73149.