Excerpted from the Humane Society article After the flood, animals find way to survive in the Big Easy.
Adrift in this floating living room, the golden-coated pit bull found shelter in the only place the water couldn’t reach: a black-metal frame encasing the air conditioning unit in a nearby window. At least that’s where the rescue team found the frightened animal. He had somehow clawed his way through the accordion wing on the left side of the AC unit, and squeezed himself between the air conditioner and the metal bars.
Despite his dire predicament, the frightened dog was not about to leave his metal perch—at least not with strangers. Growling, barking and inching further back into his self-imposed jail, the dog fought every attempt by rescuers to grab him with a control pole, but the animal had literally backed himself into a tight spot, and the team was able to quickly collar him and pull him from the inhospitable house.
And yet, the hold on life for these animals who rely on the milk of human kindness for their survival, remains tenuous. Teams are already finding animals whose skin looks painted onto a skeleton. One, four-person team this week discovered, much to its horror, a dead bull dog in an upstairs bathroom. The owners, apparently thinking they would be gone for days and not weeks, locked the white-coated creature there, with limited food and water. He died beside the bathroom door, obviously hoping for an escape.
Team members heard the Jack Russell yipping as they walked along Monticello Avenue, near the canal that drains into Lake Ponchatrain. They chased the dog, white with a dashing brown patch over his left eye, under the brick house, where he refused to budge for minute after agonizing minute under the broiling Louisiana sun.
The rescuers mapped out their strategy on the fly. Earnest staked out the right side of the house, Moore and Anderson the left, and HSUS volunteer Jane Garrison monitored a small boxy hole in front of the house, through which the rescuers hoped to flush the terrier.
“Go the other way, Jack,” encouraged Anderson, in a tone meant to send the dog the opposition direction. “This is not the best way to go…It’s very bad for a Jack.”
“Go on, Jack,” yelled Earnest from the other side of the house. “Go through the hole.”
“I’m your best hope, Jack,” Garrison cooed at the animal, looking to entice him to her waiting leash.
For whatever reason, the dog followed orders. He eventually peeked his head through the boxy hole, just enough for Garrison to place a leash on him and hold on for dear life.
New Orleans resident Eugene Kaufman, re-united with this 20-year old blind dog, Samantha. At this time, the HSUS has rescued 2783 cats and dogs, 121 horses. and over a thousand other animals, mainly farm animals. But there are thousands more still to be rescued, and it could be weeks, even months, before these animals have a home again. (See slideshow of effort.)
You’re all tired out from giving: to the Red Cross, the United Way, so many other good and helping organizations. All I’m asking is that you give 5.00 to the Humane Society to help care for these animals. Just 5.00, that’s all I’m asking. But if you want to give more, I won’t argue with you.
I am donating 2 dollars for every picture pledged by the folks who volunteered for the Critters for Critters campaign–including this timely and charming picture of a dog dressed for Mardi Gras, donated by Neil at Life With Dogs and these lovely pictures from Baldur–in lieu of running the auction. I wish it could be more.
And if you have a pet or pets, now is the time to think about their care if you’re faced with a disaster. Remember, the rule of thumb is to have at least three days of supplies (a week is better) on hand for all living creatures in the house; have pet carriers within easy and quick access; and if you have to evacuate, evacuate early rather than late, and always assume it will be weeks before you can return.
If you don’t have a pet, you have a friend in need just waiting for you at your local shelter.
I have a difficult time going to the HSUS site and reading the stories anymore. As positive as so many are, others break your heart. There’s the one where the sherrif’s department searched a home for survivors and found two people dead, but the couple’s shepard was still alive, standing guard over their bodies. Chances are they did not evacuate because of their dog, and the bitter-sad irony is that the dog was the only one to survive.
The HSUS is pushing now to make pet rescue incorporated into all local, state, and federal evacuation procedures. There’s a petition you can sign at the site, as well as letters to send to Congress, FEMA, and your local government. You should also check your own state’s policy in this regard; several states include animal evactuation because they know that many people will put their lives at risk rather than leave their pets.
Another thing to consider is having microchips inserted into your cat or dog, just in case. Regardless, have a plan in place; don’t leave your pet behind.