While many recent graduates are entering the job market or going on summer vacations, Alex Lane is entering the aftermath of the Japanese earthquake.
But Lane is focusing on a group that is often overlooked in disaster relief efforts — pets.
“It’s really sad to see an animal suffer because it’s been left without any care,” she said.
On Wednesday, Lane flew to Japan to volunteer her veterinary care skills and help rescue pets that were stranded after the March earthquake and subsequent nuclear emergency.
During her time at UNC, Lane was co-chairwoman of Helping Paws, a campus organization that aims to improve animal welfare and raise awareness for animal rights.
In Japan, Lane is working with Kinship Circle, an organization that promotes animal advocacy around the world.
Lane said she will be providing animals with basic veterinary care throughout the region.
“I’m also going to be doing the exciting field work of bringing the animals to the shelters,” she said, adding that the work is much like that of animal control.
Lane plans to live in Sendai, Japan but will visit spots throughout the country, including Fukushima, which was declared an exclusion zone after the nuclear crisis.
Lane said organizations like Kinship Circle, Humane Society International and the International Fund for Animal Welfare have been working with the Japanese government to gain access to the exclusion zone to rescue stranded animals.
“It’s the area that has the most animals that are in need,” she said.
Amber Alsobrooks, co-founder of Bayou Rescue, which provides disaster relief and rescue for animals both locally and nationally, recommended Lane to Kinship Circle.
“Disaster response is really tough emotionally and physically, and you have to have someone who has a drive,” she said. “She has that special something.”
Alsobrooks said Bayou Rescue will be serving as a base for Lane while she is abroad.
Alli Ramirez, a UNC graduate and member of Helping Paws, said Lane has always gone above and beyond to help others in need.
“She’s really passionate about helping people and animals,” she said.
Alsobrooks said the fact that Lane is forgoing a possible vacation to volunteer is representative of her character.
“I think that it says a lot about the person that she is, and I think it says a lot about the person she will grow to be,” she said.
Bayou Rescue is still raising funds for veterinary supplies through its website.
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