Man's best friends, our furry family members, were also hit hard by Hurricane Sandy. Our New Yorker of the Week is helping to rescue animals until their owners can get back on their feet. NY1's John Schiumo filed the following report.
It can be tough to watch owners part with their loved ones, but Debbie Fierro says it is all worth it.
"Your heart breaks a little bit everyday," Fierro says. "But there is also a small miracle that you see everyday."
Fierro has helped animals and many others in need of care after Sandy.
"There are a lot of people trying to help, but I don't think that people are aware of the degree of irreparable damage that it has done," she says. Not only to people, but to the animals."
Two days after Sandy hit the Rockaways, Fierro hit the road.
A driver for Wheels of Hope, part of the Mayor’s Alliance for New York City's Animals, she quickly found New Yorkers in need.
"When my truck pulled up, everyone seemed to gravitate towards the van," Fierro says. "People were begging me to take their animals."
"They are part of their families," she added. "They are like their children and they are also living, breathing creatures and they should have every right to be rescued and saved as we do."
It's been four weeks since Sandy struck, but Fierro says calls for her services keep coming in.
When two dogs and two cats who had stuck it out in a Rockaway apartment without power finally needed to be moved to a shelter, Debbie was there.
"I stayed here with my dogs and my cats," recalls Elise Quinones from Rockaway Beach. "It was cold, it was wet -- I got scared for them. Right now I can't take them to a doctor because of my job and situation."
"It's going to be hard for me. Even my son last night, because i started crying, my son goes 'ma it's the best thing for them.' I go 'I know, I know.'"
Fierro even transported two turtles, Biggie and Smalls.
The animals are temporarily housed with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals or the Sean Casey Rescue.
"The loyalty that animals have to people, and people to animals, is just an incredible bond," Fierro says. "I've seen so much emotion, but I feel that they tough it out together. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger."
So, for helping to heal the smallest victims of the storm, Debbie Fierro is our New Yorker of the Week. John Schiumo, New York One.
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