Ari Hait – Reporter
PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. —
Catherine Dunn knew she had a problem. Hurricane Irma was bearing down on her home in Marathon in the Florida Keys. She knew she and her family would have to evacuate. But Dunn’s family is not just her husband and her four children. She also has a pig, a duck, three chickens, and two alpacas. She didn’t know where she could bring them.
Someone posted Dunn’s dilemma on social media.
“It was like a friend of a friend of a family member,” Dunn said.
In the post, they tagged Meg Weinberger of Palm Beach Gardens, wondering if she could help. Weinberger told the person to give Dunn her phone number. “She called me,” Weinberger said. “After about ten minutes of talking to her, I felt like I was talking to somebody I knew my whole life.”
“It was uncanny,” Dunn said of the conversation. “I think it was grace. I trusted her immediately.”
Weinberger went to her husband to see what he thought of helping Dunn and her zoo. She said later she didn’t particularly care what his answer was going to be. Even though they had never met, Weinberger had already invited Dunn and her family to stay with them for as long as they needed.
The animals are at the Weinbergers’ home now.
“This place is heaven,” Dunn said. “My duck is in heaven. My animals, everybody is just fine. Not one of my animals is stressed out.”
“It’s just nice not have to worry about your animals,” Weinberger said, explaining why agreed to house everyone. “She can focus on her kids and her family and her house.”
Dunn said she hopes to be able to return to her home in Marathon next week. She’s not sure when the animals will be able to come home but she said it’s lifesaving to know they’ve got a great place to stay until then.
“I’m thankful every minute,” Dunn said. “Everybody is so happy. They’re so happy here.”