Pet Sitters Weather the Storm with 46 Animals During Hurricane Irma

Posted by Amber King
pet sitters with house full of dogs
Photos by Ron Levine via The Dodo

When families started fleeing their homes to get away from Hurricane Irma, they couldn't all take their pets with them.

They were faced with the difficult decision of how to keep their furry family members safe. They weren't willing to leave their dogs and cats behind to face the storm on their own, and they needed someone trustworthy to watch out for them.

That's where Ron and Gretchen Levine come in. The Florida couple owns A Paw Above Pet Sitting Services, and their regular boarding services are available for pet owners year-round. They typically take in a few dogs and cats at a time but when Hurricane Irma hit, they were booked well over capacity.

dogs sitting on couch

Ron and Gretchen started accepting pets the Thursday before the storm. They spent that day welcoming animals into their home, and they also made several trips to people's houses who were out of town. In total, they took in pets from 23 different families, and their grand total of animals topped out at 46.


With such a large number of animals in a small space, the pet sitters did everything they could to keep the peace. They separated dogs by size and kept all the cats housed in cat condos in the spare bedroom and office. There were a lot of paws to step on and finding a spot on the couch was never easy, but Ron and Gretchen managed to keep all the animals calm and comfortable.

two cats cuddling

They lost power during the storm, but a backup generator kept everyone safe. The animals played with their new friends, and Ron said most of them didn't even realize they made it through a natural disaster. They were content to spend time in their temporary home with the pet sitters who saved their lives.

bunny in cage

With the storm behind them, the Levine's still have a full house. Many of their client's flight's home have been canceled or delayed, and without electricity, they still rely on a generator. They've vowed to keep the animals for as long as necessary.

Could you live with 46 animals in your home? Let us know in the comments.

Photos by Ron Levine via The Dodo

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Pet Sitters Weather the Storm with 46 Animals During Hurricane Irma