From the category archives:

Hurricane Katrina

Blue Cat Tattoo

July 23, 2006

As most of you know, I got the paw print tattoo I had been pining over getting for years and years when I was in New Orleans. My friend Mark came with me, as he also wanted to get a tattoo. I promised in my former post to show you a photo of his tattoo, as he got a much more detailed and colorful one. I finally received a photo to share with you all.

Mark TattooCool, huh? It is totally custom done. Mark created the cat from one he saw on an antique book. I think the tattoo artist, Walt Clark, did a great job on it. He shaded the cat perfectly and those paw prints wrap all the way around Mark’s arm, disappearing underneath his shoulder.

By the way, Mark works for Best Friends Animal Society in Utah. That’s his full-time job. They sent him to New Orleans during the post-Katrina animal relief efforts to work with me in the cat area at Celebration Station. This was January-February 2006. Way past the time when The Humane Society pulled out of that area (they pulled out October 15, 2005).

That is why I chose Best Friends as my charity for Blogathon ’06. They sincerely care for animals. They don’t care how much press they’ll get; if there are animals in need, they are there to help. They’re already gearing up for another hurricane season and finding ways to help the animals caught in the crossfire over in Lebanon.

Blogathon is only 5 days away and I’m still able to accept sponsorship until then. Sponsor me and help the critters! If you can’t pledge, then blog about it or send out an email to your friends and family. The animals need YOU!

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Good News for Louisiana Pets

June 27, 2006

This morning, Louisiana’s Governor Blanco signed the Pet Evacuation Bill into law. After Senate passed the law on June 15, 2006, it went to Governor Blanco to sign. The final version of Act 615 is eight pages long, with a total of 34 amendments. The first page reads:

"… to provide additional authorities and responsibilities to the office of homeland security and emergency preparedness and to parish homeland security and emergency preparedness agencies relative to a disaster operation plan for service animals and household pets; to provide for limitation of liability of emergency personnel and owners and operators of facilities used for shelter of household pets and service animals in emergencies; and to provide for related matters."

The bill also goes on to state a requirment that service animals for disabled peoples "are evacuated, transported, and sheltered with those service animals". In addition, it lists out several statements regarding assisting those who cannot evacuate by themselves with their animals (the elderly and other disabled peoples), among many, many other important procedures that so desperately need to be "official".

If you are interested, the entire 8-page document is attached to this post. Just click the link to download the file.

This is all very, very good for the animals and the people who love them. Just in time for hurricane season, too.

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First Day of 2006 Hurricane Season

June 1, 2006

The 2006 hurricane season begins today and is being predicted to be super active by Accuweather.com. I’ve seen first hand what these destructive and devastating storms can do to pets that are abandoned and left homeless in the aftermath. It’s not something I’d like to relive again, this year or ever. While Katrina hit an ill-prepared Louisiana almost a year ago, much has been done to make sure that destruction like that never happens again. And many states that can be effected by hurricanes are taking better precautions this season.

2006 Hurricane Season

Even if you don’t live in the states directly affected by hurricanes, it’s still wise to be prepared for the unexpected by having an emergency evacuation plan and supplies in place for you and your pets.

Personally, I have a carrier for all three of our cats, as well as two bright red emergency cases full of pop-top canned food, dry food, water bottles, copies of their vaccinations and medical history, a small photo of each of them, litter and a small litter pan. Also included is a paper towel roll, gloves, a fully outfitted human survival/first aid kit, batteries, flashlights, glow sticks and several packets of freeze dried food. The emergency supply bags and the carriers can all be grabbed at a moments notice so we can get the hell away from whatever danger is effecting us.

North Shore Animal League is asking for signatures on a pledge to be prepared for the unexpected. Hopefully, making the pledge will be the first step. They also offer great tips for pet owners on how to be better prepared for natural disasters/emergencies.

Even though most emergency shelters do not allow pets, there is hope on the horizon for those of us who will not leave without our pets. In Miami-Dade County, Florida, it was announced that a second pet-friendly emergency shelter would open if a hurricane blew through. Shelters around the United States learned by watching what Louisiana and Mississippi went through and are opening up shelters where companion animals are allowed to stay with their owners.

I admit, I still have yet to find out if our nearby emergency shelter is pet-friendly, but it is something I plan to do soon. The American Red Cross has some good information on how to find pet-friendly places or shelters nearby. It might seem like a lot of work or a waste of time, but in an emergency, you’ll be glad you had the foresight to be prepared.

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Best Friends featured in Extreme Makeover, Home Edition

April 5, 2006

“Extreme Makeover: Home Edition: After the Storm – New Orleans” is scheduled to air at 8:00-9:00 pm ET/PT on Thursday, April 6 (that’s tomorrow!) on the ABC network. The Hurricane Katrina special will feature community-oriented projects, including the reunion of New Orleans families with their lost pets. Working with the non-profit animal rescue organization Best Friends Animal Society, “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” producers flew in pets that have been relocated to foster homes and shelters around the country.

Paul DiMeo and IDuring my time in Louisiana, the Extreme Makeover people stopped by Celebration Station to film everything that we (Best Friends Animal Society) were doing. Then, as a surprise and to help outfit Best Friends with the tools needed for the reunion effort, Drs. Foster & Smith donated over $21,000 in pet essentials, including hundreds of carriers, dishes, collars, leashes, grooming supplies, and “welcome home” toys. After a long day of work while being filmed and interviewed, the Extreme Makeover people lead us out back and had us pile into this massive 18-wheeler to unload it all. The only lights we had were the bright-ass lights from a hand-held camera. It was awesome and a great change of pace for all of us. Afterwards, everyone there had to sign wavers, just in case footage of us was used in the show.

Before they left, I got a photo with Paul DiMeo from the show. He was super nice and a hoot. It was raining that day, which is why I’m wearing my rain jacket. You can’t see it, but I’m also wearing my rubber rain boots, as well!

To be honest, I never watch the show, but I am not going to miss this particular episode. Besides, what if I’m in it and I miss my network debut? ;-)

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