Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Saving New Orleans' pets.

Here in the Ninth Ward, where old paper bags and empty cans blew down the middle of the street like tumbleweeds in the desert, it looked as though nuclear winter had set in. The streets were bleak and eerie, devoid of any sign of human habitation. In the distance: the sound of barking dogs.

Susan Kay -- a good friend of this reporter for more than two years -- had come from a comfortable home in Ross, shared with her son, Jeffrey, and their two dogs, in response to an emergency e-mail she had received from Jane Garrison, founder of AnimalRescueNewOrleans.com (ARNO). There was a crisis going on still, the e-mail said, but this one possessed none of the drama of a levee crashing down or looters in the streets, and those most affected weren't giving interviews. They were animals. . . . . . . .
"There was this dog on the roof of a car," said Pia Salk, one of the founders of ARNO. "As long as I live I will never forget the sound of him, howling all night."

And Lafayette, Louisiana, contributed too. According to the Plainview Herald, Cheri Trowbridge, Blaguerette's friend, spent a long Sunday saving a group of pets.
Working on tips of evacuated people who left pets behind, the group had permission to break into homes when necessary.“People had called in where to go and what kind of dog to look for,” she said. “If we saw any strays we would pick them up, too.”

She said some of the animals were frightened at first, but most were happy to be rescued.“I wasn´t in fear of being bitten or attacked,” although “there are pit bulls in parts of New Orleans that are trained to fight.”

Rescuers have a limited amount of time to search at each site.“One cat on the third floor of a house we couldn´t catch.” After more than an hour, they had to move on. “We left food and water.”

They also had to leave behind a couple of surprises they found in one house. “We found a rabbit in a house with two pythons,” she said, guessing the snakes were 6-8 feet long. They rescued the rabbit “but we left the pythons. We figured they´d survive. We weren´t equipped to handle them. I felt kind of bad about that.”

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