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Marlene's Story

Update 11/27/05: Sometime around 3:00 a.m. (today), I received a call here in New York from Courtney Chandel, who is on her second rescue mission in New Orleans. Courtney lives in New York but we met at Lamar Dixon in September, when I was with Shirley Moore (Save A Dog, Inc.) in N.O. and Courtney had just arrived for rescue work.

Courtney was calling from my attic to let me know that she and her rescue partner had trapped, in the attic, a small black cat with one ear tipped. I think I've written and typed "Violet, sm. black female, one ear tipped" a thousand times on the net after leaving N.O.

And there is much more to tell you, later. But for now . . .

Just a few days after I arrived in NY after evacuating NO, Shirley Moore (Save A Dog, Inc.) entered my life and made my plight her own. Since then only wonderful people and good things have followed. Without her, I would not have rescued 10 of my cats and would not have met many of you. And I certainly would never have met Courtney.

Lost count of my blessings.


Update 9/18/05: Marlene is on her way back to New York with 6 of her cats. Dave & Shirley will be going back to her house to feed her remaining cats until they can find someone in the neighborhood that can do it.

The picture to the right is Dave standing on the first floor of Marlene's house.

9/17/05: Yesterday, Shirley and Marlene went to LSU to drop off the cats. They were met at the door by "Hilda the Hun". She said sorry, we can't take your cats we are full. After awhile of trying to cut through the red tape and contacting the people they had talked to the day before, it was agreed that they would take Marlene's cats. But then it took over 2 hours to process the intake.

We are currently looking for foster homes in NYC, preferable east side for the cats that Marlene has been able to rescue from her house. We're also looking for someone in the Jefferson Parish area to be the caretaker of the ones remaining in the house. If you can help out Marlene, please fill out a foster application and send it to

Update 9/16/05: Shirley and Marlene have been able to capture 9 of Marlene's cats. They will be going back to Marlene's house today to see if they can catch the others. Time ran out at the place where Marlene was keeping her 9 cats but some really nice people at LSU have agreed to take care of them until they can be moved to New York where Marlene will be living for awhile.

Update 9/15/05: We are flying 5 of Marlene’s cats back to New York with her on Sunday. However, Continental is no longer flying rescues for free so we are paying to fly her and 5 of her cats home. If anyone wants to donate to help towards the cargo airfare for the cats please click PayPal

or send a check with a note "For Marlene's Cats" to:
Save A Dog to PO Box 1108, Framingham, MA 01701.

Marlene is a New Orleans resident who lives with her elderly mother and disabled son. Over the years she has taken in stray cats, including some feral ones. When her neighborhood started to flood after Katrina, she moved her family including her 14 cats up into the attic. Marlene and her mother were rescued by boat but her son had to wait another 8 days before he was rescued. The rescue helicopter delivered Marlene and her mother onto the I-10 Highway. During their time there Marlene took care of a group of elderly and disabled the best she could. Then a bus picked them up and brought them to a Greyhound bus station that was in a very very high-crime area. Even though all the windows were broken in the station, the AC was on and it was much cooler than outside. So she helped all the elderly and disabled people into the station. She told Shirley, if she hadn't stopped smoking on August 1 and started working out, she never could have moved all those people. After she was all done, the National Guard came by and kicked them all out.

Somehow Marlene and her mother ended up in New York. Her son had been rescued so now she was worried about her cats still sitting in her attic. By way of a friend of a friend of a friend, she contacted Shirley. After hearing her story, Shirley flew Marlene back down to New Orleans with the hope that Marlene could somehow get back to her house to rescue her cats.

When Shirley arrived in Louisiana, she met up with Marlene. Shirley was determined to find a way to get Marlene back to her house. On Tuesday, they were able to get to Marlene's house where they found a hole in the attic eaves by which the cats had escaped the attic. Marlene was able to find some of her cats but one of her little kitties had a bad eye injury. Everyone knew the eye would have to be removed.

Later that night, Marlene asked one of the "volunteer" vets if they would remove the kittie's eye. The vet looked at this woman standing there in her only set of clothes (given to her by the Red Cross) and filthy from crawling around her yard looking for her cats and said "Are you going to pay me"? Marlene said, "I can't, I just lost everything I own".

Shirley told me that Marlene is the most gracious person. She is so thankful for all the help. She even thinks sleeping in the Save A Dog van is "comfy". She said it is much softer than I-10. Marlene told Shirley everything just kept getting worse and worse and didn't turn around until that day she contacted Shirley from New York.

They were going to try to get back to Marlene's house again on Wednesday to try to find more of her cats.

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