Brittany Davis is leading a life of ‘No Judgments’
By Timothy O’Hara Key West Citizen / February 26, 2019
Sneaking into people’s vacant homes after a hurricane can not only land a person in jail, it can get him or her shot.
However, Brittany Davis and her fiance, Cayman Elston, did not do it after Hurricane Irma to steal tools, televisions or other expensive items or even for needed hurricane supplies, but to bring food and water to pets left behind in Hurricane Irma.
Brittany Davis’ love of animals led to her rescuing dozens of pets left behind during Hurricane Irma. Davis is seen here in her New Town home with her faithful pooch, Kilo. (ROB O’NEAL/The Citizen)
The couple chose to ride out the hurricane in Key West and Davis, with the help of her mother on the mainland, placed a post on Key West Yard Sale on Facebook, saying she was willing to rescue or care for pets left behind.
“Pets in need,” the post read. “This is only for life and death situations for pets stuck inside houses and apartments in Key West and Stock Island.”
She immediately began receiving inquiries and the request list eventually grew to about 30, as more than a week passed before Lower Keys residents were allowed to return. However, communicating with the outside world and coordinating the effort was difficult, she said.
Her mother would monitor the requests and call Davis on the only landline she found, that of author and Old Town Key West resident Meg Cabot. Cabot also chose to ride out the hurricane on the island and the two have a mutual friend in trial attorney Steve Mostyn.
Davis knocked on Cabot’s door and told her what she was doing and asked to use her landline.
“A lot of people showed up on my doorstep and asked to use my landline after Irma, but Brittney Davis was the most memorable, since she used it to help rescue stranded pets in the area. I thought that was really admirable of her, and was happy to help out in any way I could,” Cabot, author of “The Princess Diaries,” told The Citizen.
The phone was not the only piece of equipment Cabot’s family donated to the cause.
“We borrowed a crowbar and a map from her husband and their neighbor,” said Davis, 32. “I had no idea who she was. She was just very chill.”
The interaction between Davis and Cabot led to Davis being the basis for a character in Cabot’s soon-to-be-released book, “No Judgments.” The fiction book is centered around a woman named Bree. Cabot is quick to point out that Bree is completely fictional and is only inspired by her interaction with Davis, Cabot said.
For Davis, the pet rescues proved no easy task. Finding the homes alone with no smart phone GPS was a chore. Davis’ mother would take down the information left on posts on Key West Yard Sale and Davis would check in with her on Cabot’s phone for the names and directions.
“The trailer park’ were the worst,” Davis said. “I got lost in one for about an hour. It was hard to get into some of the homes or the keys were hidden under rocks or the homes were all boarded up with plywood.”
“Cayman would not let me do this on my own,” she added. “He did not want people to think I was breaking into homes. A lot of time he would use a chainsaw to get through the yard and a crowbar on the boards. Desperate times call for desperate measures.”
By the time residents were allowed to return, Davis and Elston had helped and saved some 30 pets, mostly cats and birds, but some dogs, Davis said.
The hurricane and the pet rescue was among many the couple has had in their time together. Several years ago, the pair left Key West to work on an eco-tourism charter boat in Cairo, Egypt.
Just months after settling there, Arab Spring broke out and the two would spend weeks getting their money out of banks to leave the country.
Davis, who served in the Coast Guard, met Elston in the Virgin Islands about a decade ago and the two are accomplished mariners who have navigated the Caribbean by boat.
They also operate a ecological preserve on their property in Costa Rica.