Thursday, June 26, 2008

And All That Jazz!

Chloe, King, and Jazz

These three sweet dogs were all victims of the New Orleans Katrina disaster almost three years ago. They were separated from their families - not by choice. They were taken out of the state and put in shelters.

Thousands of dogs and cats just like these three suffered the same fate. Many were adopted into new homes. Hundreds of volunteers joined on-line to help the Katrina families find their beloved pets.

I was one of those volunteers. I partnered with a wonderful woman named Barbara who had a lot of experience with cocker spaniels, so we decided to focus our efforts on reuniting cocker spaniels with their owners.

There were hundreds of families looking for their cocker spaniels. Through countless hours of searching and sharing, we were able to find many cockers listed on shelters' websites or on Petfinder. The pictures were terrible, or there were no pictures - only vague descriptions. Many families didn't have pictures to compare. It was the Match Game from hell with very few matches!

Chloe and King's families had temporarily relocated out of state. It is a long story, but a happy ending. I still have three phone messages on my answering machine from Chloe's family when they finally reunited with her. You can hear her barking in the background. I'll never forget how happy and grateful they were to get her back!

King made it home too! His family had another dog that was sent to a different shelter. They found King's sibling first. King was never listed on Petfinder or at the shelter's website. A volunteer took pictures when she worked at one of the New Orleans animal intake areas. She posted her pictures on a personal website. She had several pictures of King because he had an injured leg. Thank God she took those pictures and posted them or we would have never found King. Her name was Laura too. King had been adopted by the time we found him. That wonderful family had become attached to King, but they did the right thing and returned him immediately to his owner. The video of that reunion would make anybody cry.

And then there is Jazz.

She was adopted out to someone who refused to give the dog back. It was ugly, very ugly. It went to court . . . . . . it went to appeal. After almost three years of fighting to get her dog back, Jazz is going home! Jazz is 11 years old - robbed of three years with her family! Welcome home, Jazz - I'm glad your Mommy never gave up on getting you back!

Stay the course, light a star, change the world where'er you are. - Richard Le Gallienne

Real integrity is doing the right thing, knowing that nobody's going to know whether you did it or not. - Oprah Winfrey

Victory belongs to the most persevering. - Napoleon Bonaparte


Nancy and the fatties said...

Thankyou for everything you did for these sweet pups and their families, Laura. You are an inspiration.

Sharon said...

3 years . . . what a long time! How wonderful Jazz's mom never gave up. I can only imagine how excited she will be to hold her baby again.

Good work Laura!

Barbara said...

Hi Laura,
It has been a few days since I have visited here so was a nice surprise to see you blog on the reuniting of the lost Katrina pets and especially Jazz who has been away from home for far too long. I know we both can't wait to see that happy reunion picture and will bring closure to us both.

Looking back on Katrina and how it effected the pets, brings up so many emotions, both sad and good.

I don't know if I have ever said how much I appreciated your volunteering to partner up with me, I could have never accomplished as much without your tireless help and ideas, we made a great team!