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#Inspiring      

Kenny Chesney Loses His Dog, Saves 1,400 Animals To Honor Her Memory

Not many people know that Kenny Chesney had a home on St. John, an island in the Virgin Islands. His home away from the business world held a special place in his heart. When he heard that Hurricane Irma, a Category 5 storm, was headed to the island, he contacted some of his friends and told them to take shelter in his home with his dog, Cookie.

 

Chesney’s home was built to withstand 200 mph winds, which made it the next best thing to a storm shelter. He was safe in Nashville, and all he could do is wait anxiously for the storm to pass. His 17 friends locked themselves in the laundry room of his home with 5 dogs total. The storm caused power and phone outages, and for 6 long days, Chesney was unable to contact his friends to check on their status or the status of Cookie. When he was finally able to fly down, he loaded up with supplies and prayed that his friends and dog were okay.

 

Photos: Facebook/Kenny Chesney

 

“My heart broke. I knew that a lot of people that I loved and an island that I loved was really bleeding, and we had to figure out a way to stop it,” he told People Magazine.

 

Much to his relief, his friends survived the devastating storm. But things weren't all sunshine and rainbows. His friends lost their homes, and his home was heavily damaged as well. Chesney flew everyone, including their pets and Cookie, to his home in Nashville.

 

 

He told his friends to stay as long as they needed to.

 

In an unfortunate twist, Cookie, his 18-year-old Pit Bull mix, died in the arms of his assistant shortly after he arrived in Nashville.

 

“On my next trip down [to St. John] we took her ashes and said goodbye and scattered them in the ocean. I didn’t want her to be buried anywhere else. I wanted her to be a part of the fabric of where she lived her whole life,” he told People.

 

Cookie's passing inspired Chesney to take up the cause to help animals affected by Irma's wrath. During the next year, Chesney rescued a total of 1,400 dogs and cats from all the islands devastated by the massive Category 5 Storm.

 

“A lot of people had to leave their dogs behind — there are a lot of animals that had to ride out these storms and live in the aftermath with no food, no nothing.”

 

Photo: Instagram/Cassady Caldwell

 

To accomplish the massive feat of saving so many animals, Chesney founded Love for Love City Foundation, Victory Air and Big Dog Ranch Rescue, orchestrated the rescue effort and flew all the animals to the lower 48 to find loving homes.

 

He is donating all the proceeds from his new album, “Songs for the Saints,” to his Love for Love City Foundation.

 

“It’s been a really interesting journey. I feel like I have a little bit more compassion and empathy in my life than I did before.”

 

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