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Pawprints of Katrina: Pets Saved and Lessons Learned Hardcover – June 1, 2008

4.8 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

After Hurricane Katrina hit, animal rescuers found this handwritten note taped to an apartment door in a building from which residents had been forced to evacuate without their pets:

Our names are Fifi and Cici. We are both cats, one boy, one girl.

Please take us to a shelter. Our doctors are located at the Cat Practice.

If you find us, we are in the restroom. We have enough food to last us 5 days.

Please contact our parents, Daryl and Tasha, who love and adore us very much, at [and the phone numbers were given].

Please, we need your help!

Volunteer rescuers found the note and the cats a week later. Even though it was 11:00 at night, they called the number. Through her sobs, a grateful Tasha said, "It's my birthday. It couldn't be a more perfect gift."

As this book details, most people did everything they could to give their beloved pets a chance to survive in the chaos after Katrina. Thanks to the efforts of organizations and volunteers from all over the country, it's estimated that approximately 15,000 animals were rescued.

The staff and volunteers at the animal refuge facilities set up by Best Friends Animal Societyhelped to rescue between 5,000 and 7,000 terrified, abandoned animals and reunited some 1,500 pets with their people, most of whom had lost everything. This book details the rescues, the nonstop care given at the shelters, the reunions, the adoptions, the triumphs, and the tragedies. It celebrates the powerful bonds between pets and their people and those that develop between strangers who despite all kinds of obstacles, share an unwavering commitment to a common cause.

In addition to Fifi and Cici, you'll read about:

Himie, a Rottweiler found with a plastic bottle attached to his collar holding a note and his eye medicine; Himie was reunited with his owner

Tenderfoot, a Black Labrador puppy whose foot pads were burned off by the toxic sludge; he was treated for weeks and adopted

Bubba, a longhaired gray cat whose displaced owner drove for ten hours in a rented car to retrieve his cat—all he had left after Katrina

Red, a partially paralyzed Staffordshire Terrier who was hospitalized for about three months, fitted with a "wheelchair," and eventually adopted

And many more ...

The lessons learned resulted in a Law Protecting our beloved pets.

Just weeks before the first anniversary of Hurricane Katrina in August 2006, the plight of thousands of New Orleans residents and their pets led to a new federal law—the Pets Evacuation and Transporta-tion Standards (Pets) Act—that requires local and state governments to include household pets in their evacuation plans. It also provides federal funding for pet-friendly refugee shelters. Because of the dire experiences of Hurricane Katrina, animal owners will not have to choose between saving their own lives or remaining in a disaster-ravaged area with their pets, only to have to abandon the pets later.
—From Pawprints of Katrina

From the Back Cover

"This is an unforgettable account of the courage and boundless energy of people who realize that we human beings have an absolute obligation to help the other creatures of this planet.... I love this book!"
—Ali MacGraw, Actress and Animal Activist

"Hopefully, lots of lessons were learned as a result of Katrina, and reminding us of these lessons is good. Warning: Tissue is required for this reading, though the book abounds in happy endings."
—Steve Dale, Tribune Media Services; (From Steve Dale's syndicated column My Pet World)

"Americans were outraged to see people being forced to abandon their family pets. As Congress rushed to pass new laws, and volunteers raced to New Orleans to help, Hurricane Katrina changed the face of animal welfare forever. This is a story of pure, unconditional love in the face of unimagined suffering."
—Michael Mountain, President and Cofounder; Best Friends Animal Society

Pawprints of Katrina Will Leave Pawprints on Your Heart

You probably vividly remember the animal rescues you saw on television in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Veteran reporter and lifelong animal lover Cathy Scott covered the stories straight from the muck, the rubble, and a makeshift shelter. She witnessed dramatic rescues and joyful reunions firsthand. This book shares Cathy's stories and insight, poignantphotographs from Clay Myers, and follow-up information about the animals today. Heartbreaking and heartwarming, it conveys the depth of the tragedy; more importantly, it celebrates the indomitable spirit of the volunteers who refused to give up, the determined pets who survived, and the owners (original and adoptive) who love these animals today.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Howell Book House; 1 edition (June 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470228512
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470228517
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 0.9 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,101,033 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Norine Dresser on July 11, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Scott's book is completely absorbing. She reveals the astounding dedication to animals by humans who dedicate themselves to finding the separated and abandoned animals of the Katrina disaster and reuniting them with their bereft owners. This is an important social document. Above all, the book celebrates the human/animal bond. It's a must-read.
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This book is amazing.....I was overwhelmed by the stories of the rescues ,some with happy endings some not....I cried at the end of almost every chapter...a lot of happy tears. Cathy Scott told of the devastation in New Orleans and about the volunteers who gave up part of their lives, time and sometimes jobs to care for these poor animals and owners. Then, she told about the changes in law and mindset since then .........very well written
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Format: Hardcover
I bought this book as soon as I read about it on the Best Friends Sanctuary website. The story of Marina, the dog first named "Survivor" is inspiring and was--at first--my primary reason for reading it. I cried tears of sadness for the people and animals who didn't make it through Katrina and Rita and tears of happiness for the selflessness of rescuers both locally and from all over North America who stayed to help the people and pets of Louisiana and Mississippi. In this book there is an acknowledgement of the "remote reunion" volunteers who spent many hours on the internet and the telephone linking families and their pets or sharing the grief of those whose pets didn't make it. I was one of those volunteers and it changed my life.
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This book probes the depths of misery and rises to the heights of joy. I often felt myself in the boats cruising the murky floodwaters looking for signs of life in New Orleans' deserted neighborhoods. The bugs and humidity were real. So was the satisfaction of spotting a desperate animal and the joy of pulling it to safety. And the bone-weariness of the long days and uncomfortable nights.

"Pawprints of Katrina" is a testament to the survival instincts of our animal companions and the compassion of countless humans who value them enough to risk themselves to help the helpless.
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Format: Hardcover
I do not like to read books, but this one I had bought years ago and had wanted to read so I finally did and finished it within 2 days which never happens for me. I could not put the book down. It was difficult at times to keep track of all the different stories because I did not know the faces and names of the dogs and their owners. However I would like to share that the one story that will stick with me the most is Red, a pitbull mix who had been run over by a car, became paralyzed in his hind legs, lost his bowel functions and was rescued and brought to Camp Tylertown. Cathy and other volunteers tirelessly took care of him and he was always a happy and cheerful dog despite his tragic circumstances. Sometimes animals teach us to be humble and grateful, as well as always look at the positive side no matter what. To read that this dog was adopted and had a happy ending was so rewarding to all of the volunteers who had taken care of him. I understand that the people of New Orleans were mostly very poor and unfortunate, however some of them REALLY did not want to leave their animals behind even though they were forced to and even at gunpoint by some police officers. All of the owners should have had their pets spayed, neuteured, and had a tag with their name and phone number on it, because it was difficult for rescuers to locate the owners after the animals were brought to Tylertown. About 15% of pets were successfully reunited with their owners out of thousands of animals lost after the storm. This is a big % of reunions but at the same time it is not. If the pets had been spayed/neutered there would not have been a 2nd generation of homeless animals wandering the streets homeless.Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover
I loved reading these great stories of real people who love animals as much as I do. It made me wish that I had been there helping to rescue the animals that need us so much. This is a GREAT book for any animal lover.
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I bought this book thinking it would be really validating for me to read about myself, as I was a volunteer who was given some narrative in the book.

However, after beginning to read the book from the beginning, I discovered that I was unable to read more than a few pages at a time without becoming teary-eyed. Cathy did a fabulous job of telling it the way it happened, and I would recommend this book to all. The stories are moving and all true, and will evoke your entire gamut of emotions.

Thank you, Cathy Scott...
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The whole world should know about the Best Friends Animal Society and its efforts and success, combined with those of other shelters and volunteers, at rescuing many of the pets of people who stayed behind to be with their pets as Hurricane Katrina loomed. The book brings to the forefront the agony of being ordered at gunpoint to evacuate immediately and leave behind one or more beloved pets; the misplaced trust in law enforcement officers who promised that those animals would be cared for; and old laws that were changed to now include pets in any evacuation plan in the U.S. Best Friends did what we only wished we could do - drop everything to head south and rescue abandoned pets from rooftops, toxic waters, and hiding spaces beneath ruined houses. Best Friends was also instrumental in the huge network to locate owners and reunite them with their beloved pets. Sadly, there is still much work to be done and, thankfully, Best Friends is still involved. Everyone should learn about these heroes who, while authorities considered the pets in Katrina's path to be completely disposable, believe in the value of ALL life.
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