Dear Houston Beagle & Hound Rescue

I'm writing to you in response to a dog you have available for adoption named Ladybird. This is how you describe her (highlighting is mine):

This VERY SWEET senior beagle girl was rescued from New Orleans (running around in the area of the Convention center) 22 days after Hurricane Katrina struck! She was muddy, dehydrated, nearly starved to death and exhausted. She literally was staggering. Her rescuers immediately connected Ladybird up to IV fluids, then bathed her and gave her a good meal! They were not even sure if she would pull through. She eventually was brought to Houston and our beagle rescue group was contacted to help her find a home when no owner surfaced.

This girl is a survivor! . She had not been well-cared-for in her past so she has required numerous veterinary procedures to restore her to good health, yet she is perky and happy, never blaming humans for her misfortune.

How can you rescue an elderly dog that was forced to be left behind at an evacuation site (Convention Center), survived on her own for 22 days and then claim that she was not cared for in her past?

Here's one of the many things I've learned over the past 10+ months: that dog was probably well cared for, much loved and has been deeply missed by her people ever since they were forced to put her off the bus. They were among the thousands forced to go to the Superdome or Convention Center and among the hundreds who took their pets along. It's ironic that when the buses (finally) arrived, most went to Texas, and most of them to Houston. This poor old dog who was forced to be left on the ground, outside the bus in the garbage dump surrounding the Convention Center is now in Texas - probably in the same city where her owner was taken last September.

And what in the world do you mean by the comment
when no owner surfaced? Do you think that those people who were forced to separate from their pets after three days of hell at the Convention Center - protecting them and finding food & water for them - were in any position to search for them when they arrived in Texas. At the...Astrodome?? Many of those people were separated from human family members for a long time and didn't even know how to find them; let alone their pets.

What did YOU do to try to locate this dog's owner? Did you contact Stealth Volunteers? Did you post a Found report on the AERN database of Petfinder with her photo and complete description? Or did you make the assumption that her owner doesn't deserve her back?

Ladybird probably watched the bus pull away with her people on it, and stayed in the area for 22 days, hoping they would return - they who lost everything in the world.
Why not at least make a real effort to give them their dog back?


I lost a Piece of my Heart: A lesson From Al

He was a survivor. He had scars all over his face. You could look at him and read what pain and suffering he endured to survive the floodwaters and devastation. He was a victim of hurricane Katrina. The first time I saw him I was drawn like a moth to the flame. Even though he was hurt and in pain there was a strength and gentleness about him that you couldn’t miss. I knew he had pulled out all his last reserve of strength to make it this far and when he buried his face in my arms and allowed me and the other rescue volunteers to take care of him I knew he still had trust and faith in mankind that we would do right by him and take care of him. We tried.

He was a “scar face” pitbull that we named Al Pacino. He wasn’t the handsomest guy I ever met but there was something about him that touched me on so many different levels. I was immediately smitten. The entire time we were in New Orleans I couldn’t stop thinking about him and made it a point to find out where he was. He had been transported to Mississippi. On our way north we tracked him down and brought him home with us to heal physically and mentally. He was a small guy but there was a strength about him…a survivors instinct…that you couldn’t miss. He took a piece of my heart from our first meeting and after we got to know each other better that piece of my heart was his and his alone. I was blessed to have him with me for 7 months. I watched him get strong and healthy and I watched him become joyful. He slept in my bed. He fell in love (with Emily Rose). He ran around the yard with a smile on his face and a glint in his eye. He saw snow…not something you get to see in Louisiana and found out it could be fun. He loved life…he was a fighter and survivor and enjoyed every minute and the least little kindness someone would give him. He taught me to be thankful for the little things. He taught me to enjoy what we have now.

He died today….Independence Day. What is independence? Freedom! Yes he is free from want, pain and suffering but he leaves behind many broken hearts. His life was too brief and filled with much pain and loss but he touched so many people. He taught all of us a lesson. He took every moment and grabbed it and wrestled it to the ground and enjoyed it. I lost a piece of my heart today when he died. I was angry that he was gone. After all he had been through….to make it this far….how could this happen? He deserved better. He deserved more. When I thought about his life with me I realized that he took every minute that he was with me and made it count. Every romp in the yard, every treat, every kindness he relished and appreciated. He was like a sponge that soaked up everything and reveled in it. He lived a lifetime and enjoyed it for 7 months. Seven wonderful months. I hope that I can approach life with the zest and joy that he did. I hope I have the survivor’s spirit that he had. If I can look at each day as a gift like he did I know my life will be the better for it. Thanks Al for trying to teach us all that important lesson. I love you and I always will. I guess I didn’t lose part of my heart today. It was already his….he just took it with him.

I wrote to Al's human mom to say how much his story touched me and to ask how he died. This is what she wrote back: He died from a disease called myasthenia gravis. The neurologist thought it probably was a congenital disease. His muscles stopped working and when his diaphragm muscles stopped working he stopped breathing. I was on my way to the vets to see him and he died shortly before I got there. That broke my heart that I wasn't with him at the very end.

Please click on the top link or here to visit Eleventh Hour Rescue in NJ.


Attention Evacuees Still Searching for Pets

There are still many cats and dogs roaming around New Orleans who are surviving thanks to the food and water stations maintained by ARNO (Animal Rescue New Orleans). These ARNO volunteers and others continue to take photos of these roaming animals in the hope that they will be recognized by their owners. Some have been trapped but many continue to resist being trapped. If you recognize your cat or dog in one of the photos - GO IMMEDIATELY and try to get it yourself, or send someone who is known to your pet. Even if someone else succeeds in trapping it, they may not know how, or be willing to track you down - and your pet will likely be adopted to a new family. Shelters in and around New Orleans have been overflowing past capacity since the Hurricane and rescue groups around the country are having animals transported out.

Some of the roaming animals are Katrina grand-puppies and grand-kittens. Not cool.
Katrina was 10+ months ago, and a new set of unwritten and mostly unspoken "rules" now apply. Most volunteers are not taking on brand new cases now. If a pet is trapped and adopted out before anyone recognizes it, there won't be any way or anyone to advocate for that pet to be sent back to its pre-Katrina owner. See Lost Katrina Pets for pets still "lost in the system".

Any animal that has survived on its own for 10+ months and has someone willing to give it a loving home, deserves that.

Here are two of the links to Roaming Pets:

Pets in New Orleans
Pets in the 9th Ward

Please check back here or
LeAnne's site for photos of pets roaming in Chalmette, Lakeview and East New Orleans.

Disaster Response: Top 10 Ways to Make a Real Impact

The article above is very good and worth reading even though the target audience is large-animal veterinarians.
This is the 'Cliff Notes' version of the 10 ways to make a real impact that apply to all rescuers and other responders:

1. Understand the big picture
2. Prepare and educate yourself first
3. Don't add to the problem
4. Rethink the term hero
5. Be a good leader, be a great follower
6. Soul search your motives
7. Build on your skills and interests
8. Plug yourself into the existing plan
9. Understand your limitations
10. Start with your own community

The story of A DIFFERENT Doylestown dog that gets to go home

This is the way it's supposed to be!

Bring Bandit Home

Photo of Mr. Cavalier with his grandson and Bandit in earlier years.

Bandit is the small poodle belonging to 86 year old Malvin Cavalier, a Katrina evacuee and widower. Bandit was rescued, brought to PA, and then "adopted" by a woman who has refused to return him to Malvin. A lawyer has been hired to get Bandit back, and legal contributions to the Bandit Legal Fund are welcome. Donations can be made to the special PayPal account designated as banditlegal@yahoo.com

The link at the top will take you to Bandit's page on the Lost Katrina Pets site where there are links to newspaper articles and a story on the Best Friends website.