Animals in the Wake of Katrina

Today I received an e-mail informing me that a colleague has volunteered with the Best Friends Animal Society, and will be leaving this weekend for Mississippi to join the massive animal rescue effort in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

Best Friends is helping animals hurt in the devastated areas by sending teams of volunteers to search out stranded or lost animals, rescuing them, nursing them back to health, and ensuring that they are cared for and comfortable in their emergency animal sanctuaries.

They are also coordinating efforts with humane societies and local rescue groups, collecting funds through The Best Friends Hurricane Relief Fund, and acting as a clearinghouse for news stories from local animal groups and individuals.

Since I have a soft spot for animals, I was thrilled to hear that people were volunteering to rescue them and I pulled up the Best Friends website to learn more about the rescue effort in the Gulf Coast.

I found that they have a blog set up called “Best Friends on the Frontlines“, where they give day-by-day accounts of their activities. It was there that I found this story entitled “Dog in Boat“. Here is the story text from the Best Friends website:

From Cathy Scott at St. Francis:
Three days ago when Best Friends rescue workers were on the Interstate heading back to the Best Friends/St. Francis Animal Sanctuary, they noticed a small boat on the side of the expressway.

But that isn’t what caught their eye. It was the red spray-painted writing on the side of the vessel, which read, “DOG IN BOAT.”

They pulled over in their van. Sure enough, hiding inside the boat near the outboard motor was a dog, a young white pit bull. Besides the writing on the boat, the person had left the dog a bag of dry food. Unfortunately, diesel fuel from the motor had spilled into the hull and saturated not only the food, but the dog.

”She was sunburned with blisters and covered in diesel,” said Best Friends staff member Kit Boggio. “I talked quietly to her and just picked her up in my arms.”

The rescue team took her to the St. Francis sanctuary, along with 40 other animals. In four days, her condition has dramatically improved.

”After 72 hours, she’s had a bath, a lot of her sun blisters are healing. She had her first chewy tonight. She looks and feels great.”

Tomorrow, the dog, who is now named Diesel, is being moved from the triage area she’s been staying at to a kennel area “where she’ll have her own ‘apartment,’ “ Boggio said. “We’re going to tuck her in.”

Maybe it’s the look of exhausted gratitude in Diesel’s eyes, or the look of total defeat, but this story really got to me. Diesel is OK. She has been rescued and is in good hands, but I started thinking about all the other animals in the Gulf Coast that may not be rescued, and it’s really quite sad. I wish there was some way I could join the volunteer effort to save these pets. I know they need support in many ways and I’m sure they can use all the donations they receive.


6 thoughts on “Animals in the Wake of Katrina

  1. Pingback: Zebrality.com

  2. I can’t believe how many people left pets behind. I have 6 dogs and i could never leave my babies behind. Even if I had to live out of my car and truck with them. I know of a lot of people who did that in a Walmart parking lot. If you are a responsible pet owner you would have found a way to get them out of there. I would have.

  3. Hi Penni… Welcome.

    I too can’t believe how many people just left their pets behind. It very sad that many people take pet ownership so lightly. It’s a serious commitment, and animals should be treated like the family members they are.

  4. Willing to adapt a Hurricane Pet

    Just-3 months ago, put to sleep our 3rd keeshond, love the breed. She gave us 13 wonderful years. Too bad we can’t do this to ourselves in place of suffering…
    We have a good size home and yard, w indoor cat.
    A 20 year old daughter, in the Air Force and a 14 yr old son.

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