Log 13 - 17 September 2005

This weekend, the it continued to feel like 100 degrees, with 100% humidity. When our teams go inside formerly flooded houses, the sweat under their surgical or respirator masks pops out like goat-tees. We all have our own ways of coping and adapting to the heat (or trying to anyway!).

log132.jpgThis morning, while our groups were organizing the teams and working out the routes at the staging area in New Orleans, we visited two elderly Dalmatians being treated. They had been totally stranded without care for going on three weeks by the time the sister-in-law of the owner had gotten to them. While one appeared to be fairly stable, the second was knocking at death’s door. He was emaciated, severely dehydrated, and suffering from critical heat exhaustion. The vets hooked him up to IV fluids and placed cooling packs on him the full length of his belly. Still, he lay on the table, panting, eyes watering, not responding at all to what was going on around him. (see pic). All we could do was give him love and wait.-

Out in the field, our strike teams were forced to move quickly, visiting each address on their list, checking for signs of animals inside, and entering if necessary.

We saw an obvious indication of a cat in distress trapped inside a house: the lower part of all the closed blinds were shredded and broken. Inside the home, however, there wasn’t an animal to be found. It appeared that the residents had somehow come back for their pet or arranged for friends or family to pick up the animal. This happened a lot during the rest of the visits we made today. Sometimes we found signs advising us that the animals had already been retrieved, and sometimes we only found broken windows or open doors through which the animal inside had most likely escaped.

At the next stop a local alley cat was very interested in our activities and what we had to offer! We left canned food and water for her on the stoop, and she appeared to be totally content. Then we visited the two dogs in the fenced yard of the house next door. Since they appeared to be healthy and we’ve received word that residents of some areas will be allowed to return to their homes as early as Monday, we decided to leave them where they were with plenty of food and water.

At the end of the day, our teams met up at the Napoleon St. Vet-Mash to caravan to our new staging area. And, without a doubt, the highlight of the day was saying good-bye to the rescued animals loaded up to be driven to Lamar-Dixon. And inside one of the mobile clinic’s cages was the Dalmatian who so many hours ago (which felt like years ago) had been verging on death. He was sitting up in the cage, no longer panting, staring around with his eyes alert. It renewed our hope to realize how resilient these animals are, that sometime soon he would be reunited with his family.

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