As the building continued to collapse the dog barked and whined, but did not leave the young boy’s side. Eventually the 3-year-old and the dog were found covered in rubble, but the child did not survive.
This is just one of the stories of resilient animals that ASPCA rescuer Jeff Eyre brought home with him after returning from devastated Haiti, torn a part by the 7.0 magnitude earthquake on Jan. 12.
“[The dog] was a community dog named Dick,” Eyre, who serves as the Northeast Director of the ASPCA Field Investigations and Response Team, tells PEOPLEPets.com. “The earthquake killed Dick’s owners so he went to find this 3-year-old boy of another family who was stuck in rubble. Once he found the boy he [climbed] into the rubble with him.”
Eyre and members of the Animal Relief Coalition for Haiti (ARCH) traveled to Haiti two weeks after the disaster to help the estimated 300,000 animals living there.
“In the rubble you would expect to see domestic animals, but we didn’t see a lot of that,” he says. Even before the earthquake, the majority of the animals did not have conventional homes. They roamed free and were cared for as community pets. “You can drive through Port-au-Prince and you’ll see animals walking around. It’s different than the way we do it here,” he says.
The group’s mission was “to stop the spread of disease and to inoculate those animals so they’re not out carrying rabies or any other type of [disease],” says Eyre, who returned on Feb. 4.
Throughout his nine days in Haiti, Eyre was struck by the amount of compassion that people of Haiti had for animals.
“They want to see their animals helped,” he says. “It doesn’t matter where you are in the world, we are all on the same page to better the world and better the animals around us. And that’s pretty cool.”
To contribute to the ASPCA’s efforts in Haiti, donate via their Web site.
Read more about how you can help animals in Haiti on PEOPLEPets.com:
Pick Up an ITo Bracelet, Help Animals in Haiti
New Lucky Day iPhone App Benefits Animals in Haiti