RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Just a week after dogs rescued from the aftermath of Hurricane Fiona in Puerto Rico arrived in Richmond, the Richmond SPCA welcomed five dogs and 16 cats from Florida.

Last week, the shelter wasn’t sure it would be able to make room to help rescued animals from Florida, citing already rampant overcrowding. Nicole Harrig with the Richmond SPCA said the team made it a priority to think outside the box to find a way to help the furry survivors of Hurricane Ian.

“We do get very creative with our isolation space and with adoptions,” Harrig said.

Members of the Richmond SPCA utilized the shelter’s isolation space to house pets. This way, they could take in more animals without displacing local ones.

“We have been creative in utilizing that space and making sure the rest of our population is healthy in the meantime,” Harrig said.

In addition to caring for the newly arrived pets from Florida, the Richmond SPCA had to ensure local pets maintained their health and didn’t need to be placed in the isolation space.

Harrig explained that knowing the city’s local shelter was able to extend their resources to animal protection agencies that are struggling right now makes the extra work worth it.

“It is truly amazing,” she said. “This is one of my favorite transfers to do because the impact that we make is just incredible.”

Since animal welfare remains a national effort, Harrig said it’s critical that different groups across the country step up whenever possible to provide assistance to others, especially when natural disasters wreak havoc on neighboring or distant shelters.

“For disaster relief, it’s really important it’s a national effort,” Harris said. “We really are grateful to be able to offer that support, because if we were in a similar situation, we would want the backing of these other partners as well.”

Pets rescued from Puerto Rico and from Florida will be available for adoption soon. For updates and more information, visit the Richmond SPCA’s website.