Behind the Scenes of a Business Disaster Donation

Most pet owners share the same feeling -- our pets are part of our family. We care for them and protect their well being the same way we do our children, spouses, siblings, parents, or any other family member. So when natural disasters force families to evacuate their homes, knowing there's a safe place and caring hands to keep our pets is really important. 

During this summer's Waldo Canyon Fire in Colorado, a partnership between Petco and the Humane Society helped give families the assurance they needed to leave their homes and get out of harm's way. More than 33,000 families in the Colorado Springs area had to evacuate. Here's the story of how Petco employees and Petco stores helped respond to this disaster (excerpts from Petco's company newsletter):

"And, as we have seen in the past, our Petco store teams are always quick to jump to action when natural disasters occur in their communities. General Manager Andrea Grafft from Colorado Springs store 917 visited one of the HSPPR [Humane Society of Pikes Peak Region] evacuation centers to see if there was anything that her team could do to help.

"'The people at the evacuation centers are absolutely amazing,' she said. 'Their needs changed drastically throughout the day on Tuesday as the fire doubled in size, and they were in dire need of more supplies.'

"Andrea contacted Susan Rosenberg, National Grants and Disaster Relief Manager for the Petco Foundation, about how they could continue to help. 'Susan was on the phone with me until 10 – 10:30 p.m., helping us coordinate more supplies to send HSPPR. We were able to fill their immediate needs from our store, and the Foundation has two more pallets of supplies and kennels on the way.' ...

"President and CEO of HSPPR Jan McHugh-Smith also expressed her gratitude for the help in an email to Paul Jolly, Executive Director of the Petco Foundation. “Last night was a nightmare here in Colorado Springs with whole subdivisions burned to the ground,” she said. 'You sent an angel, Petco GM Andrea, to our off-site location. She waited patiently as we checked in clients and then worked with staff on a list of items we needed. She went to the store, got the items, and brought them to the evacuation site. She was amazing – as was Christina at the Southgate store. I am so grateful to you both and to your team.'"

For tips about what you should do when you need to evacuate your pet, check out Petco's recent blog post here.

Let's not forget that, amidst the ability to help others deal with disaster situations, most large companies have local operations that are directly threatened by the disaster, as well. Pre-formed and well communicated disaster plans increase the ability of the local employees to know what to do and how to quickly do it. Here's another excerpt from the Petco company newsletter:

"As a precaution, the team moved all of the store’s animals, including fish, to other Petco stores in case they’re ordered to evacuate. 'The mayor put everyone on standby evacuation orders, so we have to be ready to go at any given moment,' Andrea said. 'We all wanted to make sure our animals would be safe, and worked together with the teams at stores 1408 and 1472 until 2 a.m. Wednesday morning to make sure they were evacuated.'"

During both disaster times and "peace" times, businesses have unique resources and perspective that they can bring to bear to help create a stronger community overall. For more examples of business expertise in disasters, read BCLC's recent report, The Role of Business in Disaster Reponse.