BRYAN, Texas — On Tuesday, Oct. 4, the Texas A&M Veterinary Emergency Team deployed to Florida as Hurricane Ian made landfall. Now, the team has returned to the RELLIS campus.
“This was a really bad hurricane as I’m sure everyone knows from the visuals we’ve seen,” said Dr. Deb Zoran, professor of Small Animal Internal Medicine. “I didn’t think I could be surprised by what we see on disaster because we’ve seen a lot of things over the years, but it was pretty horrible.”
Wesley Bissett said he and his crew of 20 packed up and carried their own system with all of their equipment.
“Halfway across the country to Florida and left campus and set up the base of operations on a beach and in a parking lot,” said Wesley Bissett, Associate Professor, TAMU VET. “That’s a notable accomplishment to be able to transport the might of Texas A&M that far.”
Bissett said the veterinary emergency team camped out in abandoned shopping parking lots.
He says days were long and nights were short, but they were on a mission to take care of the rescue dogs.
“This deployment was taking care of those dogs, but it was really larger than that,” said Bissett. “We were taking care of the dogs, but they are an "alive-find" dog they’re trying to find someone to rescue, and a human remains dog, they’re looking for a person that didn’t make it.”
The dogs would help provide answers to families who were missing loved ones.
“Our role was really supporting the teams that were going to provide closure to those families that lost someone and that’s an important piece,” said Bissett.
Dr. Deb Zoran said she hopes other schools can join in the future.
“We want other vet schools to do this,” said De. Zoran. “We’ve forged a path in a very unique way at a college of veterinary medicine. Texas and Texas A&M have been very supportive of us, and we think this is the right model for other schools to follow.”
Dr. Zoran said the more the VET team is able to provide support to other states the more they model what is possible for other schools and veterinary programs.