From the category archives:

Louisiana Trip

Anticipating a Memory

August 29, 2006

The few days leading up to today have been rough – mentally and physically. It was as if I was expecting to hear about another disaster. My mind, in anticipation, kept churning up images of what I saw doing pet rescue. The last few days I restlessly fell asleep teary-eyed and exhausted or silently dropping tears randomly when I would see those images again on the news. The latest was in the gym last night, on the treadmill – they have tv’s there. Watching those images again, even my gym music piped through my headphones seemed far away.

My body, in anticipation, and being "fed" images through my mind, has not been keeping down food well and churning up my stomach when I did eat. I’ve had either headaches or body aches for no real reason, either.

Of course, I’m happy and relieved that today is a quiet hurricane day, with no hurricanes nearing the Gulf Coast. One would think that considering how I’ve been feeling about reliving it, I should be able to write more.. something more, but I can’t. Words seem to fail me when it comes to expressing my experiences doing pet rescue in the aftermath of Katrina. Nothing I write seems to capture exactly what I want to express.

So, instead, I am including a writing by Brenda Shoss of Kinship Circle. It was sent a few days ago for the people who did pet rescue, in anticipation of today. It was through Kinship Circle email alerts that I learned of the immediate need for veterinary technicians for Alley Cat Allies last year and why I knew I couldn’t sit on my ass and do nothing.

August 29 – One Year Ago This Day
By Brenda Shoss, Kinship Circle

August 29, 2006 marks the day, exactly one year ago, Category 5 Katrina cast people and animals adrift in a sea of loss and despair. When the levees broke, a singular scream arose from dark waters, drowning out reason.
Erasing hope.

Who would hear their cries, scattered over rotting roads and toxic heaps?
Who would see their desperation — locked behind doors, bound to fence posts, stranded on rooftops?
Whose hands would heal their anonymous pain?

At least 600,000 searched for familiar faces. But frantic eyes turned cloudy with despair when no one came. Broken bodies collapsed. Huddled inside bathtubs. Hiding behind walls. Their skin, now paper-thin, stretched over bones. A last tail wagged. An unheard purr rose from the rubble and merged with the wind.

Who would hear them?
Our government did not.

Who would see them?
Our law enforcers did not.

Who would return for them?

You did.

And with your eyes, they were seen.

With your voice, they were heard.

With your hands, they knew comfort.

With your conviction, they were fed, rescued, and reunited.

With your resolve, they found new homes.

With your mercy, they saw love before death.

With your empathy, all were cherished and remembered.

You came from California, Canada, Texas, Minnesota, St. Louis, Washington, Florida… even as far away as Sweden. A legion of the compassionate.

Shelter workers, veterinarians, students, cops, soldiers, moms, sons, daughters, grandparents… Giant burly men and fierce lean women. You left your jobs, your families and homes to salvage lives forgotten in the wreckage.

August 29, 2005 – August 29, 2006.
Our lives are forever united in tears, grief, chaos and renewal.

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Back to School

August 1, 2006

Tonight I am registering for my Fall semester classes. It seems like it’s been forever since I was in school. Come to think of it, by the time I head back, it’ll have been nine months!

Right smack in the middle of Fall ’05 semester, Hurricane Katrina made landfall. Like everyone else, I never thought it was as bad as it really was. I continued going to classes and sent a few charities some money.

Then my birthday came in mid-September and I couldn’t celebrate it. There is more to that story than just the hurricane, but the horror we were all seeing on television added to the depression I usually feel around my birthday. The more I thought about it, the stronger I was being pulled towards New Orleans. It wasn’t until another month had past until I decided that I just had to be there to help with animal rescue.

I did help and ultimately made three trips over there, from when I first flew over on November 1 ’05 to when I returned home the day before Mardi Gras on February 28 ’06. I lived in Louisiana a total of 85 days. During that time I came to really see my tent as home. 😉

Anyway, it’ll be nice to get back into my studies again. I haven’t spoken with my teachers since I returned, so hopefully they don’t think I dropped out. My wish is that this semester will be completely uneventful and the only "disaster" I’ll have to worry about is getting a bad grade on my final.

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Off Switch

July 24, 2006

Yesterday I received a phone call on my cell from a number I didn’t recognize… well, except for the area code: 504. It was from New Orleans. I almost didn’t answer it. I did end up answering it and am glad I did. It turns out there’s something I can help with from California for a few lucky animals who are being transported out to get adopted here.

Today, I had to wonder why I even considered not answering it. I’m not completely sure, but I think in some small way, tucked away in my subconscious, I just want to forget about New Orleans. Sounds pretty harsh, huh? Yeah.. I thought so.

It’s not that I want to forget, really.. It’s just that I’m a very emotional person, and over the years I’ve had to build up this "barrier" to soften the touch on my heart chords or otherwise I’d be in a constant state of depression.

I know that New Orleans will always be a part of my life. But, I can’t think about my experiences down there for too long, it just makes me sad. I essentially try to make myself turn that emotion "off" to save myself from crying about it constantly. This planet has too much hurt for me. It always has, really. So, I just let myself forget when I know I can’t take anymore hurt. It’s what works to keep me sane, I guess.

Geesh, what a complete downer I am tonight. I’ll try to stay away from the Emo-esque stuff from now on.

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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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