Blogathon for Pearlington

Saturday, August 05, 2006

The Furriest Refugees

We’ve all heard the stories of pets left behind in Katrina, and the experience in Pearlington was no different. Post-Katrina many people are working to open pet friendly shelters, not only for the sake of the animals, but for their families as well. Newspapers are now reporting that as many as 10,000 people may have refused to evacuate so that they would not have to leave their pets behind.

In Pearlington, Lucy Mitchell told me about a house where two pugs were left behind but somehow miraculously survived. They were inside a house that was under high flood waters. No one knows where they went or how they managed to survive. But when the family came home, they were still in the house, trapped in all the muck and debris.

Lucy’s alligator was not so lucky. They haven’t seen him again since the storm. He was most definitely an outdoor only friend of the family, having wandered up into the yard as a mere hatchling, and having grown up playing chase with the dogs and feeding on leftover hotdogs from the family BBQs. Aquatic he may have been, but a salt water creature he was not. Now he’s one more casualty to remind us that Katrina was hard on all life, human and animal alike, domesticated and wild alike.

Before Katrina, no one expected Pearlington to flood. People were not all that scared of leaving their pets behind. Now that they have witnessed the very real dangers to their four-legged babies, pet friendly shelters are urgently needed.

I’m not sure how that’s going to work. If another hurricane hits this year or even next year, we’ll need far more shelters than we’ve used in the past because everyone is in sub-standard housing along the coast. People died from sitting out Katrina in two-story houses that had survived many hurricanes before. We can’t have anyone choosing to sit out a storm in a FEMA camper.

I don’t know the answers, but I do know that pets matter. And people who care about their pets enough to stay in harm’s way for them matter.

Some people have been called to come to the coast to work in the recovery. Somewhere out there are people whose calling is to help prepare for the next storm. If that’s you, please don’t forget the pets.

2 Comments:

  • Sharon -- I'm with an online group of volunteers that has helped reunite rescued pets with their owners. We focused on animals from the New Orleans area but I know a few people are still working on finding missing pets of Mississippi residents. If you know anyone who is still trying to find their animals, let me know and I'll try to put them in touch with someone who can help. You can reach me at nahnahnah@aol.com

    Good luck with your blogathon!

    By Anonymous Patty, at 7:37 PM  

  • Hi Patty,thank you for stopping by--I'll post your kind offer in an upcoming post.

    By Anonymous joanna, at 7:51 PM  

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