Texas oil tycoon Boone Pickens and his wife, Madeleine, spent about $50,000 to charter a flight from Baton Rouge Louisiana on Sunday. The flight wasn't a last ditch effort for a wealthy oil baron to get out of hurricane devastated Louisiana, but a really nice man and his family's contribution to airlifting as many as 200 dogs out of the area to safety, food and water.
Organized by www.petrelocation.com, Operation Pet Lift failed in its goal but still managed to save 80 dogs. Sadly enough, organizers were stymied by Federal regulations that require them to quarantine the dogs for 30 days before they can fly out. Even so, all of the animals are being vet checked, vaccinated and microchipped ... so that the organizers can track the animals in case an owner does come looking for them.
www.petfinder.com is setting up a database of pet pictures to help reunite owners with lost animals.
Andrew Rowan, executive vice president of operations for the Humane Society was quoted by CNN News as saying
"maybe 50,000 or more dogs and cats in New Orleans that need to be rescued. There are vans and cars and trucks all over the place. Dogs are barking, cats are meowing. It's a tremendous logistical operation to provide the care that these animals need."I was stunned by news reports that helicopters had airlifted out people but they were forced to leave their beloved dogs behind.
Now I understand that dogs really are second class citizens, but I have to wonder, given the choice, would I ditch my dog? Hard to say, I wasn't there and it wasn't my dog.
It's all very sad. But the dogs in New Orleans were not the only dogs affected by Katrina.
This story pales in comparison to what these dogs are going to have to go through, but, once told, it will tie together the whole Hurricane Katrina/dog tag issue.
Katrina whipped across the States and hit us a couple of days later. It was still quite the storm when she got here. But nothing like what whipped through New Orleans and Mississippi.
Anyway, that morning, I went to open up my shop and there on the front porch was a shivering, soaking wet ball of what may or may not have been a dog. She looked like she'd been rolled in mud and the poor thing was in shock.
She fortunately was wearing a dog tag, so we wrapped her up in some dry towels, rubbed her down to help increase her circulation and warm her up and then I called the town hall.
The dog catcher wasn't in, but town hall had a record of the dog tag. The clerk looked up the tag and phoned the owner. Then she called me back and gave me the number of the owner. Who was thrilled to hear that her puppy was ok.
It seems that when the thunder and lightning started flashing the puppy had freaked out. So the owner, foolishly had put her outside; big mistake. The puppy freaked out even more and ended up running herself into a state where she got lost, ended up on my porch, wet, muddy and exhausted.
Well, to make a long story short, the owner came to fetch her puppy and by the time they were ready to head home, the puppy was back to her old self, wagging her tail, wanting to go for walkies! Dog's are so easy to please.
So, here's the part where it all ties together... Are you excited yet???
Let's say there really are 50,000 misplaced dogs because of Katrina. One wonders how many of them are sitting there having been rescued by one of these groups and for whatever reason, don't have registration tags. 1,000, 10,000??? Who can say?
With the results of this Hurricane causing so much thought to be put towards disaster preparation, FEMA, Hurricane relief and heaven knows what else. One wonders if anyone is putting thought into disaster preparation that includes the family pets.
Register your dog. At the very least, in a disaster situation, you'll be able to find your pet. Especially if, as is the case for the 80 dogs that the Pickens' family airlifted out, your dog was displaced to San Diego by a hurricane.