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.

Helping the Victims of Hurricane Katrina

With everything going to Hell in Washington, the White House has totally failed to provide any substantive help for the victims of Hurricane Katrina. Organizations we are supposed to trust; Organizations like the Federal Emergency Management Agency are actually encouraging donations to bloodthirsty Neo-Conservative radicals such as Pat Robinson, and we find ourselves in a situation where we want to aid in the relief effort, but we don’t know how to make sure our donations find their way to those who truly need help, and not into the pockets of the corrupt Washington establishment.

In some cases, National Guard units are activated, but simply waiting to be deployed, because there is no Federal funding to get them there.

The best way to help, and the way I will be helping for my part, is by giving to the American Red Cross, and by giving them the things on their list that are most needed. As I write this, they are looking for the following items:

  • Bottled water (liter or larger)
  • Nonperishable food
  • Clothing (new or like-new condition)
  • Infant supplies (formula, diapers, etc.)
  • Snacks/protein bars
  • First aid kits
  • Transistor radios
  • Batteries (AA, C, D, 9V)
  • Flashlights
  • Hygiene products (bar soap, shampoo, toothpaste, etc.)
  • Dog/cat food

If you live in Vermont, as I do, you can bring these items to the following locations:

  • BENNINGTON: Town Clerk’s Office
  • DERBY: State police barracks
  • HARTFORD: Fire and police departments
  • MONTPELIER: Statehouse
  • ST. ALBANS: Collins Perley Recreation Facility
  • ST. JOHNSBURY: Municipal Office Building and Fire Station
  • ROCKINGHAM: State police barracks
  • RUTLAND: State police barracks
  • VERGENNES: Vergennes High School
  • WILLISTON: State police barracks

Or, if you would like to make a donation of money to the Red Cross, you can click here to do so.