NORMAN — Nothing compares to watching a tornado victim reunite with a pet, volunteer Jerry Means says.
“It's the coolest thing ever. Not watching the human, so much — they're excited, but that's to be expected — but I mean watching the animal,” Means said.
Means, of Westminster, Colo., has watched the reunions happen daily at the Cleveland County Fairgrounds, where a temporary shelter was established for displaced dogs and cats.
“It's the best thing in the world to see an animal go from moping in a cage to watching as that excitement takes over its body when it sees its human again,” Means said. “It's sheer joy.”
Means, an arson investigator with the Colorado State Bureau of Investigation, came to Oklahoma as soon as he heard about the tornado that hit Moore. He volunteers at disasters as a way to pay back his dog Sadie “for all she's done for me.”
Sadie, a black Labrador retriever with a sharp nose, is a nationally certified accelerant detection K-9 who has worked more than 400 fires with Means. Sadie was named Law Enforcement Dog of the Year in the 2011 American Humane Association's Hero Dog Awards.
Dogs and cats rescued from tornado debris by animal control workers or volunteers with the American Humane Association are being taken to the fairgrounds at 615 E Robinson St. and two other locations: the Animal Resource Center, 7949 S Interstate 35 Service Road in Oklahoma City; and the Oklahoma City Animal Shelter, 2811 SE 29.
Josh Cary, a volunteer with the American Humane Association, said the pets are photographed and their photos posted on boards at each site.