Katrina Disaster Relief Update!
1/29/06 Today is a day I will never forget.
Marlene, our beloved friend who was evacuated from
New Orleans after the hurricane and who came back for her cats, flew up to Boston to
be reuinited with her last lost cat, Molly, a beautifully petite Siamese. Someday Molly
will tell us her story about how she disappeared from the attic sometime in September
and was never heard from again until just two weeks ago when Cathy Ahern of the Merrimack
River Feline Rescue Society trapped her in Marlene's kitchen. The reason that this is such
a miracle is that the neighborhood has been abandoned for months and the feeding/watering
stations were few and far between at this point. It is such a miracle, not only that she
was captured, but that she was in such good shape. We can only imagine that some angel
rescued her and brought her back when it was time. It is truly a wonder.
12/27/05 I apologize for not updating our
Katrina page lately. While we were down in NOLA during Thanksgiving we received a
call that Daveís father had suddenly taken ill. We rushed to his bedside in a Florida
hospital and held vigil for several weeks as he lay in ICU on a respirator. He passed
away on Sunday, December 18th, 2005. Itís been a crushing blow for us, but weíve had the
comfort of family and friends to help us through this difficult time.
12/10/05 Lady and Hoover flew home to be reunited with their
owner, Marty Banks, of New Orleans. Marty called us to express her heartfelt thanks for taking
care of her dogs and returning them safely.
12/6/05 Marlene Askew, the cat rescuer/evacuee, returned to
New Orleans to pick up Violet, her most recently rescued cat. She also spent a few days
scouring the neighborhood for her remaining cats and found one dead in the neighbors yard.
What a heartbreak! I wish there were some way we could have rescued all the Gentilly pets as
that neighborhood is not going to be inhabited for a long time. Marlene is a very strong lady
to have endured all she did and then to return to the neighborhood where so many pets didnít
make it, for one last search. She returned with Violet in tow and says that Violet and the
others are more than thriving. We are still looking for foster homes for several of her cats
so if anyone can foster, we will provide transportation and expenses
Busy day today. We finished up at Marlene's as there was a gas leak
in the neighborhood so we scurried out of there, just in time to get back
to the hotel and find out that the Mission from MN folks had caught a
loose dog. We investigated the situation and found the owner, woo hoo.
We also stopped in to see our friend, Rick, who stayed behind in the
trailer park to care for everyone's dogs. Rick will be forced out by
Fema at some point because they are taking over the trailer park. We
told him about Common Ground, the grassroots legal aid group. I hope
he gets to stay as he is doing a great thing for the animals and has a
heart of gold, not to mention that the trailer is his home and he shouldn't
be force out (another story altogether). That's all for now.
11/26/05 Today we went up to Chalmette in search of a lost
dog. Tobias' owner had been allowed to evacuate with her dog to the high school, but then
when they had to evacuate from there, no dogs were allowed. The dogs were brought to the
country jail, so we went over and talked to the sheriff and he said he was there when the
dogs were there and that three weeks later the rescue groups came and took them to Lamar
Dixon. Tobias is a little tan Shih Tzu whose picture has not appeared on any of the Katrina
rescue lists. His owner is devastated and heart-broken. It's a mystery to me as we were at
Lamar Dixon at this time and they were very strict about letting dogs go. If the dog was
taken there, then there has to be some records somewhere. It is very difficult to track down
this information at this point, but if someone has the time, it's a project worth pursuing.
There are several grassroots groups trying to help the pet owners get their dogs back. Please
email me(firstname.lastname@example.org) if you're interested in helping.
In the midst of searching for Tobias, several people approached us about a pregnant
pig who was wandering through the neighborhoods. Different people had been feeding it.
We went to check it out, but did not find the pig so we put it in a report to give to the
trappers. We also had several opportunities to donate food to various people in Chalmette
who were feeding stray cats and dogs. After that we headed back over to Marlene's to continue
the work of gutting. It was while we were in the midst of the work that we heard the trap shut
and saw the little calico we had seen so many times before. We called the trappers and they came
over within the hour to pick her up. It is so good to know that she will receive medical care and
love from humans. She is a beautiful cat and has a lovely meow, even if I do say so myself
(coming from a dog person, hee hee).
Later that day we headed back to the church to attend a free concert. It was so
heartwarming to see people who had lost everything singing their hearts out.
A group from NYC who formed as a result of 911 came down and performed and told
their stories and people from the congregation told their stories too and praised
God for being alive. We all ended up in a tearful group hug at the altar. It's
something I will never forget. I will hold these dear friends in my heart as I
return home to continue the work of helping pets and people. I have a new-found
appreciation for the things that are important in life. I am so thankful to have had
this opportunity to come down and volunteer once more. If it were not for our supporters,
I would not be down here, so I thank you all for your amazing generosity. If you have an
opportunity to come down and volunteer, in any capacity, I encourage you to do so.
It will be like healing balm to your heart and soul, I promise. So many people have
shared the same experience, the feeling of community is so strong and it's such a great
feeling to work alongside people who have a heart to give. Every bit of help you can
give goes such a long way in being effective. Whether we come down or send aid, it's the
right thing to do. So much help is needed and will be for a long time to come.
11/25/05 After a leisurely day on Thursday,
we set to work on Friday gutting Marlene's
house. You can read Marlene's story on our web site and a new update as well.
Her house was under 8 feet of water so everything was soaked and moldy. It was so
sad to see someone's life just washed away like that. So much water and mold, with
very little that we could salvage for her and her family. The refrigerator was on its side
wide open with two month old food molding. It wasn't as bad as it could be as Marlene is not a
meat eater. I can't believe that Dave got that fridge up and out the door. It was a major
accomplishment. While we were cleaning out the house, we were working with several groups
to try to catch the remaining cats. The first step was to remove all the cat food from the
house that the strays were feeding on. The trappers set 3 or 4 traps with canned food and to
our amazement the orange and black calico we had seen in the attic got trapped during broad
daylight. I am so happy for her as she is a sweet kitty and was living alone in the neighborhood.
Hopefully, others will follow.
Friday we spent most of the day gutting Marlene's house. That night we went up to
Metairie for dinner and came across an Olive Garden, woo hoo. Metairie was not as
hard hit by the storm so it has the appearance of business as usual. It was a good break
to get back to "civilization" or at least the appearance of such. Downtown New Orleans has
an appearance of normalcy but many places have limited or no electricity. There are still
many empty buildings and tall buildings with the glass window popped out. Most of the
neighborhoods on the outside of the downtown area are pretty much deserted. They have
water, but no electric so people can't totally move back unless they camp. There are
not many Fema trailers down here, so it's a mystery. There are lots of Fema trailers in
Waveland, MS. If you go over to Gentilly, where Marlene's house is, everything still looks
frozen in time. There are still cars everywhere, overturned or in odd places wherever they
landed. Stores are all boarded up, there's virtually no gas or supplies. You see a few people
here and they're working on gutting the houses. There are still trees on top of houses and debris
11/24/05 Thanksgiving. Not sure I gave an update on this date, but I had two T'giving dinners,
one with the Vineyard church where I met the Drouins, a young couple who had moved down
to NOLA in August before the storm. They had just rescued a pit bull puppy so I had the pleasure
of talking to them for about an hour about house training and on socializing. The puppy is
adorable, a little female brindled pit bull. Then I picked up Dave from the airport and we
returned to have dinner with the Mission from MN folks at a church in the heart of NOLA. They
had donated a lot of dog food which I transported down to Plaquemines Parish where it was
11/23/05 Today was a very busy day in
New Orleans. I was flagged down left and right by pet owners looking for
their pets. Most do not have internet access, so I hope we can start
posting posters and offering internet access to people looking for
their pets. I was also flagged down by the National Guard about an
injured cat, so I went to the neighborhood and set a trap for the cat,
then ran into two dogs, a shar pei in really bad shape and a chow mix,
both female. The shar pei was very frightened, but I got her to eat hot
dogs out of my hand, just couldnít put a loop over her neck. Then a guy
came upon the scene and said he was working in the area and he told me
these were owned dogs, so I gave him food and told him to let the owner
know that he could probably get free medical care for the dogs. I feel
so bad, especially for the Shar Pei as she had cuts and chemical burns
and looked pretty shakey. I gave him some flea/tick preventative as well.
As I inched along the streets, being stopped every block or so by
pet owners or dogs/cats, I found myself in a familiar neighborhood.
It was the area where we rescued a Shepherd and her companion at the
request of an owner. We had not been able to reach the owner because
she had to evacuate for the second time when Rita came. I drove by her
house and she was home, having just moved back to the area. Marty,
the pet owner, was so happy to hear that Lady and Hoover were doing
well and she was so relieved that finally we hooked up. I called the
foster contact and arrangements are being made for their transport
back to New Orleans, yeay!
Later I went back to check on the cat trap and saw a beautiful
Collie and a Blue Tick Coonhound. Both eluded me and I noticed that
someone had already set a trap for them. I noted the address and the
area addresses so hopefully someone will know how to reach the owner.
It would be such a shame to put these dogs into the system if the owner
is coming back or is within easy reach. Iíll try to send them a post
card at the very least in case the mail is being forwarded.
Later this afternoon I went over to Marleneís house (the cat rescuer) to
assess the situation and also to see if thereís some way we can start
gutting her house so that it doesnít get bull-dozed. Lo and behold,
some volunteers from Common Ground, a grass roots group who are
providing numerous services for the evacuees, including house gutting
and legal services. I got a contact number and immediately called the
lady from the trailer park who is being evicted. Iím also going to see
if they can help us gut Marleneís house in exchange for some volunteer
work, hee hee. Anyway, very busy day. Did I mention that yesterday the
van was charged at by a wild pig? That was the highlight of yesterday,
seeing a pig chase cars like a dog. That was down in Plaquemines Parish.
Every time I need a giggle, I will think about that sight.
11/22/05 Today was another exciting day out in the field.
One of my team members, Courtney, who has been helping with Marleneís cats, went down to
Plaquemines Parish and rescued a puppy who was saved by a construction worker. Just as he
was about to bulldoze a house, he saw something moving in the ditch in front of the house and
it was a very young puppy who was stuck. So he got it out and gave it to Courtney. She and
another rescuer found another puppy close by and also saw the mama dog who was nearby.
Tomorrow they are going back for the mama dog and other pups.
First I went up to the trailer park to check the traps we set for cats. We didnít get
any cats, but we got one very frightened possum. I opened up the trap and went to grab a
cup of coffee and scouted around looking for a nursing mama dog we had seen the day before.
This trailer park is being bull-dozed and the people were given 10 days notice to leave
the premises. They got a lawyer and he only gave them a short stay. Legally, thereís
nothing they can do. I spoke with one woman in her 70ís who owned 5 of the trailers and
has been a good tenant, even lending the property owner money. She told me that one of the
tenants just came back from Iraq and also got the notice. He tried to get the army to help
but so far no luck. I think only getting the media involved is going to help them. The
trailer park is on Michael Court in Kenner, LA if anyone wants to pursue this with the
media. Itís just not right to kick out low income people in order to rent it to builders
who are coming back to ďrenovateĒ. Anyway, thatís my .02 on the situation.
Then I went up to Waveland, MS to check out the pet situation and spoke with the folks at
the animal shelter. They are very low on kitty litter, so Iím scouting around trying to
find them some. The Walmart up there just opened and it looks more like a Home Depot
because of all the supplies that are needed. You know youíre in an aftermath of sorts
when the hot item is Fix-A-Flat. All the houses near the beach were leveled completely.
You will just see a chimney or the front steps. There is not a church or synagogue still
standing. They do seem to have a lot of Fema trailers up there so thatís good. I stopped at
Fredís cafť, the distribution center for donated goods, talked to a man in his 70ís who
told me he had to hang onto a tree for 7 hours to survive. Another woman stopped her car
in front of the van and ran up very tearfully asking me where her dog was. Itís so
heart-breaking. Meanwhile I got a call about someone donating food, the group from MN
whose video I sent you all. They were unloading a truck of donated goods to a church in
downtown New Orleans. So I went down and they loaded me up and no sooner did I pull out
of the parking lot did someone flag me down and asked me if I knew where they were
holding his dog. I got his information and spent the better part of the night on
Petfinder trying to locate his dog. It is so heart-breaking. I hope that someone can
revamp the software so that it groups pets by neighborhood. And I also hope that if
someone rescued a dog that they will put the information on the Web and also write
the pet owner a letter so that it will get forwarded to the owner. I think itís the least
we can do for people who have lost everything.
Tonight we had real Cajun food at a restaurant called Motherís. The line was 50 people
long but there was no other place open so everyone who walked in and looked at the line
gave a big sigh and got in line. It was a jovial crowd, a mix of returning evacuees,
electricians, and construction people. The food was really good and almost worth the wait.
11/20/05 Well, already it's been an amazing experience.
Yesterday wasn't so hot. I got to my van and it had a flat tire, so I called AAA and
they wanted to take six hours to fix it so I called a local repair shop and they were so nice.
I'm all set now with tires and fluids topped off, etc. So today I got up and said, Okay, Lord,
I'm yours today, use me as you will. I went over to Winn Dixie and offered my services and
they were so thrilled to have someone with a van as they were down to one vehicle, so they
sent me up to northern LA to pick up traps and crates, to a little town called Angie, barely
a dot on the map. They sent along a helper, a young guy who did all the heavy lifting. He told
me the most amazing stories of his experience volunteering including how he got arrested by the
NOLA police and thrown in jail for 3 weeks and how literally angels got him took care of him.
He had been volunteering since early September and was broke and with no car as his transmission
bit the dust a few weeks ago. He could find work as a roofer, but chooses to work as an animal
rescuer. I bought him lunch and a pack of cigarettes and he was so grateful. It just blows me
away to see the dedication and heart of volunteers like Tim. Today was a day of God putting
two of his people together to encourage each other spiritually. I feel so uplifted right now
I don't think anything could get me down. Oh, and then we picked up Kim, the person I'm trapping
with and we met with one of the main HSUS reps from Montana (his license plate reads HSUS) and
he talked to us for about an hour about all that's going on with the recovery effort, so it was
a double shot in the arm. We reminisced about volunteering at Lamar Dixon and I asked him why
they were throwing away crates and how much that bothered everyone. He said that the EPA made
them throw certain crates away and they knew it would look bad, but they had to do it.
Boy was I relieved to hear that there was a good reason for that. He explained all the problems
they had at Lamar and all the agencies involved and the magnitude of the disaster, which we all
knew was beyond what any of us could handle. Anyway, he also gave us a quick lesson on trapping
and gave us some special juice to use to attract the animals. He gave us a ton of supplies
including kongs to put in the traps as a stress reliever for any trapped dogs. He had so many
ideas and was just as enthused as someone who had been doing it for a week, but he had been
there for months and was just leaving to go to DC for a meeting. Amazing. Anyway, I feel
fortified for whatever I encounter this week. This afternoon I had the strength and courage
to go to Marlne's house and bury her dead cat in her backyard garden that she had told me her
cats had so often enjoyed. Up until today I was dreading that chore, but knew I had to do it,
not only for the cat, but for Marlene because if there was any chance she was going back to
that house, she should not have to find her beloved cat like that. I had such a sense of
peace afterwards. Well, I feel ready to tackle whatever tomorrow brings. Please pray
for me and for all the rescue workers and especially for the animals that are still out there.
The ones that they are finding now are not in the best shape, nevertheless are mostly all
11/11/05 We haven't posted anything to the diary for awhile, but
we're actively planning our next trip down. Shirley is going down next week
and hooking up with a couple of trappers from Oregon. Dave and son, TJ, are
joining her on Thanksgiving. Stay tuned for more updates.
11/7/05 Posted on craigslist: Very depressing day...
Today we found 3 dead cats at 3 separate houses. These were cats who had only died
in the past few days. Two of the cats were found dead on their front porches next to
empty food and water bowls. The other was found dead on the back porch of a house where
again, no food/water was available. Why did these animals die? Because we do not have
enough people to feed them. This is not a normal city on a normal day where animals can
search through trash for scraps. This is a city where the majority of the residents have
not returned so no trash is being generated. This is a city where there are no puddles for
them to drink out of because it has not rained in over a month. This is a city where there
are no residents who will feed them because very few people are actually living in New Orleans.
This is a city in a crisis. These animals have nothing but us to help them. I hate to say it
but the animal community is failing these animals. Today we only had 24 people to put out food
and water stations in a city that has thousands of animals on the streets. It is a
tragedy that these animals made it through the hurricane, made it through the flood,
made it through another hurricane and are dying because they don't have enough food and water.
Please don't think that someone else will go and help...because they won't and they're not.
Please get in your car, get on a plane and come to New Orleans to help put food and water out
for these animals. We currently have over three thousand locations in our database where we
know animals are hiding under porches and under houses. I am begging you to please help. We
will provide you with the list of locations and all the dog and cat food you will need.
Just come... All the instructions you need are on Animalrescueneworleans.com.
PLEASE don't let any more animals die...
11/6/05 There are still so many dogs and cats starving down in New Orleans
that need our help. The only large intake shelter left is Best Friends, God
bless them! There are also a few grass roots groups, like the Winn Dixie
folks and their helpers. They risk getting arrested because the locals and
local selectman do not want outsiders, but they're doing a good job setting
up feeding stations. These pets still need and deserve our help. We have a
few people who have expressed an interest to go down and help, but we are
out of funds. If you can help, please put Katrina in the notes section your
Paypal donation or in the memo portion of your check. Thank you for helping
us to make a difference in the lives of the remaining Katrina pets.
11/5/05 Janis and Wendy are back. The last few days were rough.
across a horse farm where many of the horses didn't make it. But then they
trapped a dog and that was a miracle. That's what it's like down there,
heart ache and sorry and then joy and relief at those you can save.
11/2/05 Janis and Wendy received new traps today. They also trained a team
from CA on how to trap from the training they received on Sunday. They took
six team mates with them to the St. Bernard area where there are many loose
animals, including a pot-bellied pig who was being attacked by dogs. They
are working with local authorities and have been working day and night.
They are also trying to trap a mother and puppies. They got the puppies out
from under the house and are trying to get the mother. They were also
flagged down by 8 constructon workers who had gone into a house and heard
growling on the bed. Two dogs had taken up residence in the house, so the
guys shined flashlights while Janis and Wendy went in with rabies poles and
caught them. What an adrenaline rush.
11/1/05 Janis and Wendy helped out several grass roots groups with
transporting cats to Best Friends temporary shelter.
10/31/05 Today Shirley responded to a volunteer
request to look into a matter
with St. Bernard Parish. They have no animal control currently and the
donation money given to the Parish for a temporary shelter was appropriated
by the Parish for other needs. Shirley spoke with the Parish vet who says
there's no need for animal control there at this point in time. Shirley
explained that she was just down there a couple of days ago and there were
numerous stray pets and that she was able to reunite a stray Bassett with
his owners last Thursday. Hopefully, the Parish will act according to
conscience and give the money back that was donated for the shelter. The
vet said that outside humane societies are not welcome or wanted, even if
they use private funds to help the strays. It's a very disturbing
situation, especially given the well-publicized fact that dogs were shot to
death in a school. Hopefully, that's not how they're dealing with their
stray pet problem!
10/30/05 Janis and Wendy attended a lecture on
trapping given by a group of Montana trappers. They took their new skills on the
road and trapped stray pets per owner's requests. Winn Dixie in New Orleans is desperate for
volunteers, especially vets and vet techs. Muttshack is desperate too.
10/27/05 Sonja and her pups are doing fine in their
Florida foster home. Gail and I flew home on Friday -- we both slept on the plane,
exhausted but sad that there is still so much work to be done.
Janis and another volunteer are staying the week to continue the search
and rescue efforts.
10/26/05 Today was a really productive day.
We set up a lot of feeding
stations and we successfully trapped the 85 year old lady's white calico
cat as well as her companion, who was critically ill with a gaping neck
wound. We called our team leader and rushed the tabby with the neck wound
to the vet who was helping the animals in the area. Then we brought the
white calico to the staging area where all her information was put on a
form and she was sent to Best Friends. I heard that the lady was called and
that she was ecstatic that her pet was finally safe, nearly two full months
after the hurricane evacuation. There are still so many to save. We saw so
many cats and dogs today, too many to catch. But at least we fed them and
we're hopeful that in the few weeks to come that they will be trapped and
reunited with their owners. Every night I lay in my bed, tossing and
turning, praying and hoping for a better day, for a reuniting of pet and
owner, for a pet to be brought to safety, for wisdom for the rescue teams
and for those working in the staging areas.
10/25/05 Today we went over to the Winn Dixie to help as they were so
short-handed. There was only one lady taking care of the cats and she had
not had a break in a long time. She had been there for two weeks (one week
is usually enough to burn out even the hardiest volunteer), so she needed a
break. Gail and a friend from Fema helped with the cats and Janis cleaned
dog crates while I scooped the poop and walked dogs. We felt really good
when our work was done and set out for St. Bernard Parish to do food drops
and to assess the need. This place was really hard hit with most homes
covered in mud. There were boats on houses, barns on houses, RVs on houses
and even a dead deer on a house. It was surreal. We saw dogs and lots of
cats so we set up feeding stations and talked to a few home owners.
animal caretaker, Rick, who we had met last month in a demolished trailer
park. Rick told us he was feeding 20-30 animals. We gave him lots of food
and went over to Winn Dixie to get flea/tick treatment for his flea-bitten
dogs. While Janis and I were busy taking care of Rick, Gail was luring an
emaciated cat into her arms. The cat was a new arrival at Rick's place and
the other animals weren't accepting her, so Gail lured her into a crate and
we were off. We also tried to coax a limping rottie girl to come with us,
but she was just too skittish. We then headed back to our assigned
neighborhood. There were cats everywhere, almost at every turn. Our
instructions were to drop food/water every three blocks, but we had to
reduce it to every block and a half because of the number of cats and also
our observations that cats stay within a range of one or two houses. Gail
lured another cat into a crate, ( Video clip of Gail & Cat ) a cat who came from a house that showed no
sign of human life. I was able to find a cell phone record and leave a
message for the owners. We also brought the cat to Winn Dixie where she
would be transferred to Best Friends and put on petfinder. We saw a few
dogs on the run as well, but nothing we could even dream of catching. Most
dogs at this point are very skittish. All in all, it was a successful day.
We had come upon a house with lots of writing on it about a white calico
cat and her 85 year old owner who was calling from her hospital room
wanting her cat to be rescued. We set up a feeding station and no sooner
got in the van before we saw her, drinking the water and eating the food.
We decided we would try to trap her the following day as she was not
We pulled into a mini mart that had just opened and saw a posting about a
lost Bassett. We had just seen a Bassett at the foster home the previous
night and we all felt he was not a hurricane dog as he was in really good
shape. I called the number on the poster and told the woman that I had some
really good pictures of a Bassett that I'd taken the night before. She
rushed right over to see the pictures and said, "That's my baby!" With
tears of joy streaming down her face she gave me a big hug and set off to
get her dog. Wow. She no sooner left and I got a call from the man who was
looking for his Rottie. He found his dog!!! He was driving around as usual,
looking for her and then decided to pull over and pray. He noticed a rescue
worker struggling with a dog and went over to tell him about his dog. The
man looked at him and pointed to a house where a local lady had recently
taken in a Rottie. It turns out it was his dog!!! What an amazing day. Two
reunions in one day. I know better than to think of it as a coincidence.
We all felt so good that day and went to bed with a sense of accomplishment. I
went to bed praying for the elderly woman and her calico cat.
10/24/05 Evening Tonight we introduced Sonja
and the man who had identified her as his dog. We were sure from the things
he said that she was not his dog as she had some definite traits and behaviors
that his dog did not have. Sure enough, it was not his dog. It was a sad moment
for him and it pained us all to see the heart break in his face. He had been
searching and searching for his dog and was about to give up. We all encouraged
him as best we could. The foster provider had also spent hours online looking
for his brother's dog and was unsuccessful. It was a very sad night, especially
knowing how many other people must be hurting right now, not knowing where their
pets are or even if they are alive. It rips your heart out. I went to bed praying
for that man to find his Rottie.
10/24/05 "Our first day out on the field was a tough one.
We went to Marlene's house
and found her favorite cat, Tinkerbell, dead in her bedroom. The subsequent
phone call to an already devastated pet owner, Marlene, was a difficult
one. We also found a dead dog under her house, a beautiful grey and white
terrier. Just heart breaking. Today was truly a day of despair and
frustration, one in which we questioned if the groups doing search and
rescue could have saved more if they worked together with communication and
cooperation. I also questioned whether the word truly got out about how
dire the need was for search and rescue teams to help out. Realizing there
would hardly have been a place to put all the animals had we been blessed
with additional help, I could not help but think we would have come up with
a solution if the intaking shelters were overwhelmed. It is so hard to go
back and see the dead animals that you couldn't save. Knowing that we had
spent hours at this house and didn't get them all really hurt. I did not
sleep well that night ."
10/23/05 "We got an early start and listened
to the radio reports of the next
hurricane, Wilma, while wondering out loud if Sonja would have her puppies
in the van. We joked about it, not realizing how pregnant she was. In fact,
the vet who examined her up in NH did not realize that she was pregnant as
she was so emaciated her ribs were sticking out. The foster home did a
great job getting her to the point that her coat was starting to look good
and she had gained a few pounds. The word from the transport person was
that she had just started to "bag out" the past couple of days. 'Gee,' we
wondered out loud. 'I wonder why nobody thought to tell us.' Not being too
concerned the first day, but the next morning she really started to look
pregnant and when Janis squeezed a nipple and milk came out, we called my
vet for advice. The vet said it could be anytime from a few days to 24
hours. Lovely. We wracked our brains trying to figure out who we could ask
to foster a very pregnant dog while we were in LA and came up empty. Maybe
we were imagining the whole thing. This couldn't be happening to us, LOL."
"It was later that night when we were deep in conversation, that we heard
the first puppy yelp. I leaped over the seat like a gazelle, just in time
to watch Sonja clean up the first male pup, pick him up with her mouth and
put him on the nipple to nurse. It was the most beautiful thing to watch,
but yikes, what timing. Talk about being in shock. I think Janis and I went
through every human emotion possible: laughter, hilarious laughter, tears
of joy, then anger and disbelief, and finally sadness for Sonja that we
were bringing her and these innocent babies into a disaster area. To make
matters worse, we had called the owner and through a series of questions
about her personality, we realized that she was not his dog. What else
could go wrong! I guess the only other thing was having to sleep in the
van with her, but that wasn't such a suffering as I got to watch another
puppy come through the birth canal. This was puppy number 7, a little
female. By this time Sonja was very tired, so I picked up the tiny puppy
and put her on the nipple. It was the greatest thrill I have experienced in
a long time and it also explains why I would be so protective of mama and
pups in the days to come." to be continued.
10/22/05 "Shirley and Janis Moore (no relation)
leave for New Orleans with
the Save A Dog van packed up with supplies for our search and rescue
mission and a large rottie girl who we hoped to reunite with her owner. The
van, formerly used exclusively for dog transports, has been crucial in our
rescue mission as an emergency disaster relief vehicle. It is a large van
that can hold a ton of stuff and was also used as a mini-camper by the
volunteers who worked in the early days and weeks of the Louisiana pet
rescue efforts. The ride down was not without a few disasters along the
way. In Shirley's words, "We were driving neck and neck with a tractor
trailer, i.e., he would pass us on the downhill and we would pass him going
up hill. We followed like this for the better part of an hour, until a
small green car got between us, going very fast. In a split second the
driver of the green car slammed on his brakes and turned sideways, plowing
right into the side of the tractor trailer who immediately went off to the
side of the road with the green car stuck underneath and car parts flying
all over the road. Janis was driving and I missed the whole thing as I was
tending to Sonja, the Rottie. Then a few miles up the road we passed
another accident, a trailer loaded with cattle had gone off the road. The
scene was heart breaking, with many of the cows dead and others injured who
were probably going to be put to sleep. It was a sobering reminder that we
were headed to a disaster scene of a tremendous magnitude and that we
needed to prepare emotionally as well as physically. Both Janis and I had
served a month earlier when the shelters were a hub of activity and packed
with volunteers. By now most of the volunteers had gone home and were very
much understaffed. We savored the last few hours of peace and quiet before
heading into the disaster area and had an early night, planning to arise at
dawn and arrive in the Gulf area on Saturday night. We stayed at a Best
Western that allowed pets and Sonja joined us, sleeping in between the two
beds. It was so comforting to have such a nice dog for company."
Reflections on Volunteering at Lamar Dixon, Gonzales, LA.
10/17/05 The latest update from New Orleans is that they are desperate
for volunteers, now that the larger groups have packed up and closed Lamar
Dixon. There's a skeleton crew left down there. Shirley got the van back
today and we have a second driver, Janis Moore, of Odd Dog Rescue, so
they'll be heading down on Friday morning with cat traps, dog crates, food,
and a Rottie who will be reunited with her owners. Another volunteer, Gail
Melanson, will be flying down to meet Shirley in New Orleans and Janis is
going to stay at Best Friends and volunteer there. That's the latest.
10/12/05 The van is resting up and will get an oil change before we get
it ready to go out again. Our current plans have Shirley leaving on 10/21
with dog and cat food and water and possibly two dogs returning to their
owners in New Orleans.
Tail of Relief - MetroWest Daily News (Oct 13, 2005)
10/11/05 Two volunteers who Shirley met on CraigsList flew
back with Marlene's remaining cats, the two who had surgery. Enzo, Dodi,
and Susu have been through the mill, having been rescued from the attic,
then off to the Pasado barn, then to LSU vet school, then off to surgery,
then to a foster home and finally put on a plane with kind-hearted
volunteers, Sabene and Genivieve. Funny story, they were only allowed one
cat each under their seats, but brought the third cat in hopes that another
passenger would take them. After a number of rejections, they found a young
woman who was very eager and excited to help so all three cats got to fly
home together. It's amazing that people who didn't even know these cats
prior to their trip to New Orleans would go to such great lengths to get them rides
home together. We are ever amazed at the perserverance of animal lovers!
Thank you, also, to Sherry, a wonderful lady who fostered them for 3 weeks
following their surgeries. Sherry is another person we had never met before
the hurricane. Marlene was waiting at JFK on pins and needles and was so
happy when she laid eyes on all three cats. Hurray! She text-messaged
Shirley from the taxi that all three were happy to see their mama and she
will also send us pictures for you all to see.
10/10/05 Team 5 returned with a van load of dogs for ARNE and
Puppy Angels of NH. Melissa and Michelle put in a few solid day's work down
in New Orleans and then went to St. Francis to load up dogs who were
scheduled to come north.
10/8/05 Melissa and Michelle went out with the Winn Dixie team and
pulled 3 dogs out of a house, one had deceased. They also caught another
dog under a collapsed house and lured a little female pit bull into their
arms. Great work, ladies. They are now on their way to St. Francis to load
up the van with dogs for ARNE.
10/7/05 Michelle and Melissa arrived in New Orleans and picked
up the van loaded with supplies and drove it down to the Winn Dixie group. This group has
been very successful at finding many dogs still in their homes and have
been sending them to the various shelters that are still operational. Today
Michelle and Melissa are going out on a search and rescue mission with this
10/6/05 Team 5 flew down to New Orleans today to pick up
the van and help with the much needed rescue effort. As you can see, there
are many pets still to be rescued (USA Today - Pets Still in Need of Rescue ). I am amazed, but not
surprised, at the resilience of the pets. If they have such a will to live,
who are we to turn our backs on them. We will be working with Best Friends
this week and their shelter in Mississippi, called St. Francis. They plan
on staying while others are forced to pack up and leave. The shelter
at Lamar Dixon is closing on the 15th because the property owner has a
horse show scheduled. The shelters remaining will need lots of support as
they pick up the burden of the countless dogs and cats still getting
rescued every day. Please pray for them and for us all. Eventually, time
will run out for so many of the helpless victims of Hurricane Katrina.
10/2/05 Team 4 flew back into Boston on the 30th
(see pictures of their
trip below). Thank you, Kathryn, Nancy, and Brenda! Team 5 (Michelle and
Melissa) are flying down on Thursday and working for a few days in New
Orleans, then heading back to NH with new rescues. Our sister organization,
ARNE, will be fostering and eventually placing these dogs. Our van, will
get a quick check and oil change and hopefully will be headed back down to
New Orleans with vet techs and experienced dog handlers.
We should have enough experienced veterinary and animal control people to
be down in New Orleans at least through October. It would be GREAT to have
a camper as we're back to tent camping again and/or sleeping in the van.
Update on Marlene's cats! The
nine cats who were initially rescued are safe in NYC and doing well. The
three who were left at LSU Vet school needed extra TLC and one had to be
put down due to an inoperable tumor. The remaining two will be flown up to
Marlene thanks to a very kind Delta flight attendent. The remaining 3 or 4
cats who stayed with the house are benefiting from food drops from several
rescue groups working down in New Orleans. Thanks, everyone, for your
support of these precious kitties.
10/01/05 Danielle and I got back yesterday from Gonzales,
Louisiana where we volunteered at the Lamar Dixon Expo Center, the place where the
New Orleans rescued pets were being processed. It was quite an experience. ...
Pictures from Team 4 in Lamar Dixon
9/29/05 Great news! Lamar Dixon has a one week extension on taking the
hurricane strays in. That means this week is crucial for the search and
rescue teams. If there are any ACOs interested in going down this week,
please contact Shirley Moore at email@example.com for more information.
Team 3 returned last night. Thank you, Gail and Danielle! I hope you're
sleeping in today!
Team 4 went out to the field yesterday and did food drops. They came across
a very thin pit bull, limping and with chemical burns all over his body.
Despite his injuries, he was wagging his tail the whole time, so they put
him in the van and brought him back to Lamar Dixon. They're
calling him Harry. They're headed back today with supplies for the team at
Winn Dixie and with a mind to help on the front lines. Thank you, Kathryn,
Nancy, and Brenda!
As of this morning, we have raised $7410 for the Katrina Disaster Pets.
9/28/05 The latest from Lamar Dixon is that they are scaling back their
intakes. Field Operation is stopping on Friday, i.e., no more search and
rescue missions, no new dogs can come to the expo center. All animals have
to out of Lamar by October 15th per the Lamar Dixon owners. This is so
discouraging. In the meantime, there are some smaller organizations picking
up the slack and helping to save the dogs of New Orleans. There are still
thousands trapped and thousands roaming the streets in search of food and
water. Now that the big groups are pulling out, there is going to be a more
urgent need for skilled Animal Control Officers and Vet Techs and
Veterinarians. Rescue groups are still prohibited from bringing Katrina
dogs to MA because of the Department of Agriculture's fear of spreading
disease. They want to handle the intake of dogs and send them to the big
shelters like MSPCA and Animal Rescue League. We will continue to work on
the Search and Rescue end until we get word we are needed to foster.
9/27/05 Here are portions of an update sent out by
It will give you an idea of what life is like down in Lamar Dixon.
Nancy and her group arrived at the St Francis Sanctuary in Mississippi at
about 1:30 PM on Monday, and found the accommodations to be less
than adequate. Subsequently, the president of Save-A-Dog
asked them to head over to the Lamar-Dixon staging area in Gonzales,
Louisiana where they have a FEMA tent set up with cots and A/C. This has
allowed them to focus more on the animals rather than their own well-being.
OK, so yesterday Nancy's group signed up for "dog intake duty". This is a
process where, once rescued, the dogs are given food, water, a little
attention, and a bath. They are then sent along to a triage area where a
veterinarian micro-chips them, updates their shots and checks their overall
health. After that, they have their picture taken and a few notes written
about themselves. This helps with the identification process if and when
their owner comes to claim them.
Nancy's first three intakes of the day were cats. After that she handled
mostly dogs. The group also received a
few unusual animals including a lizard and a duck which had to be micro-chipped, as well.
Nancy's group worked
tirelessly into the wee hours of the morning and when I received my final
call of the day at 1:30 AM it was only to hear that they still had more
intakes to process.
Nancy sounds great, although extremely hot and tired, and her enthusiasm
for what she is doing comes through loud and clear. She really loves her
dogs and I am very proud of her.
All teams are now in Gonzales (long story short, there
were no camp sites left at St. Francis). Kathryn, Nancy and Brenda arrived
yesterday afternoon and rolled up their sleeves to help. They first worked
on intakes and then walked dogs. They took in 150 dogs the day before and
at least as many yesterday.
Shirley called Nick, the Sheriff of the Garden
District, and he said, "Hey, where are you. We've got all these strays
running around." So please pass the word as Shirley can't leave right now.
She got slapped with a quarantine from the Dept. of Agriculture because of
Toba, the dog she brought back from Louisiana, so even Shirley's dogs are
quarantined, even though the dog was kept separate from her dogs and was
brought up not as a rescue but as a personal dog as a favor to the dog's
guardian (under the law in place at the time, any citizen can bring an out
of state dog into MA as long as they have a health certificate). Please
pray this quarantine is lifted so Shirley can continue her rescue efforts
and go where she is needed!
9/25/05 Karen and Rob (team 2) got back in last night
and dropped the small van off this morning. We heard from Team 3, Gail and Danielle
in Gonzales, LA. They are back at Lamar Dixon with a skeleton crew, hoping to set up
camp there and not be at the church basement shelter for humans, but with the 4-leggeds.
They are happy to be back at work exporting and walking dogs. Team 4 went out this
morning with the large Save A Dog van and they are enroute to St. Francis Sanctuary
in Tuxtown, MS. On the home front we held a new volunteer orientation, an auction
planning meeting, and a foster home training at which Shirley showed a slide show
of her trip to New Orleans and talked extensively about fostering to 18 new foster
9/24/05 We spent today getting the van ready.
We put it into the shop for
an oil change, some minor repairs, and then Dave drove it through the car
wash a couple of times. Boy, is it ever hard to get those southern bugs off
the van. We brought the van home and scraped and scraped and also cleaned
the inside so the new team starts out with a clean van. The new team of 3
volunteers leaves in the morning to drive the van down to
St. Francis Animal Sanctuary.
As of this morning, we have raised $7130 for the Katrina Disaster Pets.
9/24/05 PM: Karen and Rob have arrived in NH with
the two dogs that were
rescued for the family at the Astrodome. I want to thank ARNNE, the Pelham
Animal Control officer, and the Chief of Police for offering these two dogs
a place to stay. Once the family is able to return to Houston, we will send
the dogs to them, hopefully flying them down.
Here is a nice article from the Salem Observer
A new leash on life - Abandoned dogs get new homes after Katrina
9/23/05 PM: Shirley granted an interview with Channel 4's T.J. Winick,
which aired at 11 PM last night. He came to her house to meet Toba, the
yellow lab that Shirley flew back from New Orleans on Sept. 20th ( Read Toba's Story )
before the new order was issued preventing private citizens
from bringing Katrina dogs into MA. He asked why we were diverting our new
arrivals to PA and NH and Shirley directed him to the Web site for the
Dept. of Agriculture.
9/23/05 pm:We finally heard from our team. They have been
hunkered down in a church
cellar all afternoon due to tornado warnings in that area. They are currently
trying to get a ride to St Francis Sanctuary where they will be helping
out until they return to Mass.
9/23/05 pm:We still have a team on the ground,
Gail and Danielle, but we
have not made contact today probably because of the lack of power at Lamar
Expo in Gonzales. Our understanding is that the dogs are still being
exported in large groups to shelters all over the country. Karen and Rob
drove almost all night and did not find a hotel until after 2 this morning.
They should be back tomorrow.
We have a group driving our Save A Dog van back up here with dogs from the
St. Francis shelter in Mississippi. Most of the dogs were delivered to a
rescue group in PA because we learned that the Mass. Dept. of Agriculture
has just today issued new regulations prohibiting dogs from the Gulf states
from coming into MA without going to an undisclosed location under state
control where they will be housed for a period of time. Given what we've
all been through, nobody wanted to take a chance on having the dogs put to
sleep so they are safe in a friendlier state. Hopefully, once the crisis
lessens, the smaller rescue groups will be empowered to foster the pets as
that's what we do best. I worry about warehousing dogs and cats in large
locations as it is so stressful and stress has a negative impact on their
already fragile immune systems. Please pray for the pets and that the
foster programs will be empowered asap so that we can find their owners and
reunite them with their families!
We have plans to put the van into the shop for a quick oil change and
mechanical check and then send it out with two new drivers first thing in
the morning. That's all for now.
Here's the latest info from Louisiana. Karen and Rob went
down to New
Orleans yesterday on a mission to feed and water the strays and they were
notified of an evacuation of the city and local areas. Gail and
Danielle have been working at the shelter helping evacuate the animals.
They have opted to stay for an additional few days even though half the
volunteers have gone home. The power has been turned off and they are
running on generators.
Karen and Rob left last night as scheduled and they are bringing
the two dogs whose owners were in Houston who requested they be rescued
from their damaged home. We will try to locate the family when the dogs
arrive as they were given permission to have their dogs. Right now
because of the storm, the reunion is on hold. Karen confirmed that both
dogs are extremely sweet. They sat in crates on the hot pavement all
day waiting for their evacuation and never made so much as a whimper.
Both are very kissy and cuddly. We'll try to post pictures soon.
These dogs are on their way to NH.
Please pray for Gail and Danielle and all the other brave volunteers
who stayed behind to help at Lamar Dixon.
As of this morning, we have raised $6955 for the Katrina Disaster Pets.
9/22/05:I talked to Dale from ARNE this morning and
one of her volunteers picked up
our van last night so that they can use it to transport dogs from St.
Francis shelter in Mississippi. Unfortunately, the two dogs we were
supposed to transport for Bill the Trapper were not able to be released
from Lamar Dixon because they were not vetted yet. This is very frustrating
as these are dogs who Bill rescued as a result of an owner request from an
evacuated family and Bill wanted to ensure first-hand that the dogs made it
back to their owners by putting the dogs into the hands of people he
trusted would do the right thing. Dave and I worked closely with Bill, even
risking our lives together, so the bond is very close. The frustration
level is always high when very capable people cannot make the wheels of the
system move in a way that makes the most sense. But there's a bigger
picture at stake and I understand that. The communication break-down is
astounding sometimes, but we have to chalk it up to just another road
block, but not be deterred or discouraged. It is just hard to watch the
hurricane victims and their beloved pets being victimized all over again,
so emotions run high. God willing, the dogs will be released to another
agency and then reunited with their family. Bill, Dave and I spent hours at
the owner's home luring the frightened dogs out from under the house. Lady,
a beautiful Shepherd, at one point came over and licked my face but was out
of sight before I could put a slip lead over her head. I can understand
how her family must miss this beautiful dog as she is just lovely! Please
pray that they are reunited and not shipped off to parts unknown. This dog
deserves to be with her people who love her very much.
On a positive note, despite the evacuation of many of the volunteers back
to their home states, over 300 dogs were admitted to Lamar Dixon yesterday
by the skeleton rescue teams that remain. Hopefully once the storm blows
over, volunteers will come back in force and help the dogs of Louisiana. I
have a hard time imagining what life must be like for those dogs still
stuck in their homes or if there are any survivors at this point, but I am
constantly amazed at what I see when the dogs are brought in.
Yesterday was the hottest day, with temperatures hovering around 100
degrees. The volunteers have to walk the dogs in the most difficult
conditions, with the heat, the lack of proper bathrooms, and minimal food
supplies. Despite it all, our volunteers were in good spirits and have met
new friends from Canada and other locations. All the volunteers have such a
heart for the animals and they all encourage each other to keep the faith
and keep focused on the animals who so desperately need their help. Please
pray that more showers are released for the volunteers as it is extremely
difficult for the hundreds of volunteers who are exposed to toxins to not
have a way to clean up. It is unimaginable, but given the circumstances,
everyone seems to accept the hazards of the job.
When you experience the hardships with others who have the same passion,
close bonds form and it is life-changing. I will never forget the people I
worked with down in New Orleans and at Lamar Dixon. I feel so home sick for
the friends I left behind. As time permits, I will write more about the
experience, but suffice it to say that when you live and work in very close
quarters under very difficult conditions with people who risk their lives
for the animals and for you, the bond is amazing!
9/21/05: Things are changing rapidly. There is a massive evacuation
at Lamar-Dixon because of hurricane Rita. We have 4 people on the ground (Karen, Rob, Gail and Danielle)
who are all working on exporting the dogs out. PittieLove Rescue and American Rescue of NE are both
working to send dogs to New Hampshire.
Shirley just got home and has over 600 emails to read. She will get back to everyone as soon as
possible. If it is urgent either call her or resend your message.
As of this afternoon, we have raised $5355 for the Katrina Disaster Pets.
9/20/05: Update from Shurley Sept 19th: It's hard to believe I've been down
in the disaster area a week today. So much has happened, that it feels like I've been here for a
year, but also the pace is so fast that it feels like not more than a day has gone by. Today was a
very successful day out in the field, i.e., downtown New Orleans. We rescued a number of dogs
from the St. Bernard Parish, many who were extremely dehydrated, including a few "criticals"
who were unconscious when discovered. It is amazing to see the transformation that happens,
though, when you give them a little fluids. It's so exciting. We had one little terrier pup who
was in very rough shape, but soon started to open his eyes and lap the water we offered. A few
minutes later I was feeding hot dogs to the other captured dogs and he perked up, and even took
a few bites of hot dog. I hear he's going to be fine.
We are part of an emergency response team that includes vet tech's, ACO's, and even a wild
life trapper from Florida named Bill, most of whom drove over 15 hours to get here. Out in
the field, we saw dogs every where we went. It was hard to keep up with all the requests from
various sources who told us about dogs in nearby homes or on porches. At times, we would be
leaving food in a neighborhood and we'd hear barking and then follow the sounds to a house
where we would find dogs. We had a steady list of requests from police, fire, and U.S. Marshalls.
They would even escort us to this house or that, to get dogs out. Dave and I got a ride from two
New Orleans Police officers who had lost everything in the hurricane, yet they were still working,
and still concerned about saving lives. They drove us over to a house where two little dogs could be
heard barking from a back bedroom. We went in through a window and made our way over toppled bureaus,
furniture, soggy mattresses, you name it, to get to the barking dogs. Everything was covered with a
skim coat of that sludge/slime left behind when the waters receded. Two little dogs huddled on a
bookcase at the far end of the house were not happy about being rescued, until we got them out into
fresh air with fresh food and water. Then they became as sweet as little pups. Just about every
dog went from being skittish to friendly, even the guard dog that Bill had to tranquilize in
order to get him out of his house. That was a scary situation and I have a new found respect
for animal control officers and trappers. I had been searching for someone to help me rescue
the remaining four cats from Marlene's attic and today "Wild Bill" as he likes to be called,
went in and got all but one out. He left a trap for the one and will come back in the morning
to check the trap. He also got a rottie and small dog out who we had tried, unsuccessfully, to
rescue yesterday. Amazing!
Karen and Rob arrived today and we've got two more volunteers arriving tomorrow. We also
have a vet and vet tech who are willing to come down next week to help. The vets on board
now are putting in 18 hours days every day. It's so inspiring that so many people are willing
to do so much!! There's still so much work to be done, so I hope anyone who has the time and
heart can come and help or support the effort financially. We're flying several teams down
and hope to keep a Save A Dog team down at Lamar Dixon Expo Center, where most of the dogs
are triaged. They desperately need help with dog walking and also medical expertise.
Listen to NPR's interview with Shirley Stranded Pets Fill Home of Bayou Bengals
As of this morning, we have raised $4545 for the Katrina Disaster Pets.
9/19/05 Save a Dog is sponsoring a rescue mission into the hardest hit area today, St. Bernard
Parrish; so please pray for them and any animals that may have survived. This is only
the 2nd time anyone other than law officials have been let inside. They have a Caravan
of 5 vehicles going in led by Save a Dog and Bill of B & S Enterprise of Florida. Trapper
Bill is a Professional Trapper and has trapped everything from raccoons, snakes and lizards, etcÖ
Shirley says time is critical down there! We are still looking for sponsors to help pay
for flights for qualified volunteers to get down into the area to help with this mission!!!
They desperately need people with Experience to handle the dogs and help in many ways.
Such as Veterinarians, Vet. Techs, people who know how to handle dogs.
Save a Dog will be sponsoring a team in the area for at least the next 3 weeks.
They are working in 90 degree weather for 12-18 hours a day. They have only 2 showers
for hundreds of women. Yesterday Shirley went to a store and bought a big basket and
filled it with toiletries supplies for women and brought it back there. Everyone was
so grateful for it! Itís the little things that people are grateful for and Shirley
and all the other wonderful volunteers ran down there with vans packed up for the dogs
and they were all chuckling at the fact that they didnít pack well for themselves!
Yesterday a woman flagged them down because she found her cat and it was critically
ill and Shirley took them over to the staging area that is set up for the animals
and they took care of it. Shirley said they are starting to let people back in and
she couldnít help thinking how many people will come back to find their pets in
this condition and not have anywhere to bring them and not know about the areas
set up for the animals Ė itís truly like being in a war zone and these people are
coming in and just finding devastation.
Yesterday they tried to help a woman who was frantically looking for her dogs,
she had put her little rat terrier in the attic to be safe, but it didnít make it
and the others all got picked up by the rescue workers, so she now has the task of
trying to find the rest of her beloved animals!
Shirley said they HAVE to get right up in the morning because she canít stand thinking
about all the dogs that need to be walked! These poor dogs are only getting walked
every 10-12 hours Ė the poor little dogs are holding it in their crates and just crying
Ė she takes them out and they peepee and poop at the same time as soon as they get out!
They went thru the drive thru at Taco Bell yesterday and got up to the window,
ordered their food and the woman gave them their food and some change! Shirley
said ďbut I didnít pay you yetĒ and the woman said ďI know the car in front of you
saw the van and wanted to show appreciation for what you are doing down here, so she
gave me money and said to give the change as a donationĒ! Shirley said she wants
everyone to know she really appreciates everyoneís support!
A very nice article in the Metro West Daily News about Shirley in N.O.
As of this morning, we have raised $4045 for the Katrina Disaster Pets.
The rescuers are now doing food drops throughout N.O. and
rescuing the dogs that are in dire need. The trucks are still full when they arrive at
Lamar-Dixon. Among the rescues that Shirley & Dave did yesterday, was a 6 mon old kitty whose
eyes were so infected
it couldn't see. Three vets worked on the little kitty last
night; Shirley will find out how he/she is doing today. They also found a dog that was so
skinny she looked like a dog skeleton with
black fur. They found her skittishly approaching everyone as she wagged her tail. She is
currently in ICU at Lamar-Dixon.
Shirley got a scare when a SWAT officer approached her and said "Ma'am, my supervisor would like
to talk to you". Everything was going through her head, was she in trouble for something?
When she met the supervisor, he torn off a piece of paper, handed it to Shirley and said, Could
you please go to
this house? There are some dogs locked in it.
There are so many more animals still left to be saved. Ever time you turn a corner there are those
in the street or people handing you lists of addresses to go to. HSUS at Lamar-Dixon is processing
hundreds and hundreds of animals every day. And every day the area becomes more organized than the day
before. There are even hot meals for the volunteers now. All of these volunteers work long selfless
hours for one thing - the love of animals.
Karen & Bob left early this morning in our second van full of supplies. They should be arriving in
LA tomorrow. Our prayers are with them for a safe journey.
As of this morning, we have raised $3640 for the Katrina Disaster Pets.
9/17/05 Dave, another member of our board arrived safe
and sound yesterday to meet up with Shirley. They went back to the home where Shirley
found the yellow lab to see if they could find more information about her owner. They
met a neighbor who is a Canine Officer who invited them into his home for sodas. He gave
them all the information about Toba's owner and messages have been left on her cell phone regarding
Last night Shirley and Dave slept in the van at Lamar-Dixon where they were able to get
a hot shower.
Sherry, a sweet volunteer for LSU, bought them dinner which was Shirley's first hot meal
since she has been down there. She said it is like living in a 3rd world down there. A hot
shower and a hot meal are valued luxuries. Shirley was up at 4:30 this morning walking dogs
at the shelter.
Today, Shirley and Dave have a list of addresses in N.O. and will attempt to go to as
many as possible to see what they can do. Pray they are able to get to all these animals in
Our other van with 2 more volunteers (Karen & Bob)
is scheduled to head out tonight carrying more supplies that have been donated.
Thank you to everyone who donated.
As of this morning, we have raised $2135 for the Katrina Disaster Pets.
9/16/05 Shirley and Bridgett were interviewed by the NPR the
other day. (If anyone could get a tape of this, Shirley would love to hear it when she gets back)
Bridgett returned home yesterday and she will be missed. With her ACO experience, she
saved dogs that others would not go near. Dave is on his way down to replace Bridgett.
Shirley and Marlene (now the rescue navigator) met some really nice people from
agreed to hold on to and examine Marlene's cats to get them the health certificates thay need.
Shirley will be working with 2 rescue groups who brought down tons of dog food. Late yesterday
afternoon, they were able to do minimal food drops and today they will work
together to try and maximize the much needed food drops.
On one rescue, they found a dog chained to a shed. It looked like he either tread water for a long time
or was able to get on top of the shed. He was skin and bones when they found him but somehow found the strength
to show he could sit pretty for treats.
Shirley said "We are working from miracle to miracle".
9/15/05: As of this afternoon, we have raised $2050. 100% of this money will be used
to help Katrina Disaster Pets. On one of the rescues, they came across an open door. Inside
there was a yellow lab asleep on the couch. She is such a sweet dog and looked like she was well loved.
Shirley now has her and is trying to track down her owners.
9/14/05: Shirley & Bridgett are digging in and helping out any way they can.
Yesterday Shirley helped tranport rescued dogs with the Save A Dog van. As soon as she pulls into
New Orleans, a lot of the National Guards stop her and say you have to go here and save this animal.
There were 3 vans in the group that Shirley was in and they saved about 50-60 animals by breaking
into homes. Since it has been over 2 weeks, some animals were
found in their crates that did not make it. Others are so dehydrated but do much better
after they get fluids.
The overall conditions
down there are hard. Volunteers work long, hot hours - sleeping in cars/vans/tents after a hard day.
Some volunteers are in tears, just exhausted from working in such overwhelming conditions.
Save A Dog
will be sending down some of their experienced volunteers to help out over the upcoming weeks.
It is becoming
very costly to Save A Dog, so anything you can donate toward these costs would help out immensely.
Please keep Shirley, Bridgett and all the other rescuers in your prayers.
9/13/05: Shirley & Bridgett arrived in LA safely. Last night they were at the Gonzales shelter
walking dogs and helping the vets.
Thanks to your generous donations, we have raised $900 so far to help the Katrina Disaster Pets.
9/12/05: Shirley & Bridgett made it safely to Birmingham, AL last night. They are back
on the road now and should be arriving in LA around noon today.
9/11/05: Our van left late yesterday and is on it's way to Louisiana loaded with
much needed supplies. As of this morning (9:00am), the 2 volunteers (Shirley & Bridgett) are in Maryland.
We are still planning to send our van down again on September 17th.