I don't spend much time watching TV, but it was impossible to not know what was happening in the Gulf Coast, especially when the flooding of New Orleans became publicized. I started seeing pictures of the people plucked by helicopter off the rooftops, wading thru water to reach dry ground, and crowded into the Superdome waiting for help and supplies.
Of course, being an animal lover, I wondered what was happening with all of their pets. Occasionally one would see a photo of a dog on a roof, but the media attention was fixed on the human tragedy and the animals were mostly ignored by the press. I sell a variety of things on eBay, and when I saw other sellers listing items with 100% of the proceeds going to hurricane rescue groups like the Red Cross, I decided to run several charity auctions myself. I raised almost $200 for the ASPCA and the Humane Society of the US with my own items and those donated by a client, Rosemary. I gathered clothing from my closet and from friends and relatives, and sent them on a church group's truck to Louisiana and Mississippi. I bought personal care items at Sam's Club to help fill the truck they were loading to take down there.
I got together for lunch with my friend Vicki Berg, on Friday, September 2, and all we could talk about was how we wished we could go there and help. The TVs in the restaurant were playing scenes from the hurricane zone as we ate and we talked about jumping in her SUV and heading out. But we knew that we had to have a destination, and we needed to find out what supplies would be most useful to take. Over the weekend I started searching the internet for rescue groups that wanted a veterinarian, especially one for birds. What I found was that at the time, they were all saying that I would have to go thru their training course, and that I had to make at least a 2 week commitment. That was impossible for me, as there is no other veterinarian in my practice to cover for me, and I would lose all of my income for the entire time I would be gone.
I am chronically behind on email, but on Tuesday, September 6, I read on the 911ParrotAlert yahoo group that the founder of their group, Donna Powell, lived in Baton Rouge and had taken in dozens of birds left with her by evacuating New Orleans residents. I called her, and then the plans really got rolling.
The following pictures are ones I found or that online friends sent me to help get across the message that pets are vitally important to their families, and that they needed to be rescued too.
A dog surrounded by water is waiting for someone to help him.
Rescuing dogs off the roof of a collapsed house.
A family desperate to save their pets carries them thru the flood waters.
A puppy covered in filth gratefully drinks clean water.
Another abandoned dog with nowhere safe to go awaits rescue.
A homeless man stands on an empty New Orleans street, refusing to evacuate to a shelter because they won't let him take his cat.