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Pawprints of Katrina: Pets Saved and Lessons Learned Hardcover – June 1, 2008
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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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The writing and research that went into this book are apparent, it is not a cobbled together story built half on facts, half on speculation. It is a story built with careful research. I will not include spoilers here, but if you are looking for a book that tells a story of a small part of the rescue efforts after Katrina, this is the book to read. There are other books if you are seeking a broader picture, but this one gives the general overview.
This book will have you jumping feet first into the fray that was disaster rescue after a huge disaster that devastated entire communities. You will hear about pets left behind to fend for themselves, the difficulties in setting up such a large scale rescue, hear about the volunteers and agencies that gave their time to step in and help the pets.
"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.