Monday, November 21, 2011


This sweet dog, Bucky, was mercilessly shot and killed in front of his owners and their three children last month by a heartless police officer. The dog was playing in front of the house with the children and the officer was not provoked or harmed. Nothing can bring back this sweet dog to Natalie and her family, but you can sign the petition to have the officer removed from his post. Here are the links:

Justice for Bucky page:

Petition to have the officer fired:

Monday, September 01, 2008

Hurricane Gustav

Most of us are all waiting and watching to see how much havoc Hurricane Gustav is going to wreak on New Orleans and the surrounding areas. We saw what happened last time the levees broke, and we bore witness to the severe damage that resulted from the catastrophic flooding. For many of us, there is little we can do until the storm moves out.

However, there are some people who are already making a difference down there, helping people board their family pets after being told they could not take them on buses with them, and sheltering animals that were left to ride out the storm. I wanted to take a moment to honor these animal rescuers and others who are doing the same. Without them, the poor pets would ONCE AGAIN be denied and left to play Russian Roulette with the hurricane. Click this link to see what some rescue organizations are doing!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Success story: LOOT

It's been almost 3 years since we rescued the mangy little boxer puppy from the water-logged streets of New Orleans, and I thought it might be time to share some recent photos of how life has turned out for one of our most beloved rescues.

Loot, who was hanging on death's door when we rescued him, not only found a new home with a very loving owner, but an exceptionally comfortable life that even most people would envy. Loot, pictured below with his doggie sister, Lexi, lives life high on the hog these days. His taste for cheese is indulged in the form of brie and cheese whiz (a Hurricane dog is not necessarily discriminatory!) and many gourmet meals. It's a long way from the mashed potatoes that Lacey and I fed him to keep the little guy alive.

As we near the third anniversary of our rescues in New Orleans, let us honor those that have helped our little rescues find happiness, love and full bellies after enduring such a horrific ordeal in the Bayou. We could not have been successful without all the love from our great supporters who helped us get there or without the many of you who fostered and adopted our little survivors.

Thank you. There is no better word for this than: GRATEFUL.
Lexi, Loot's boxer sister, sharing a bed with Loot. After being abandoned in New Orleans, Loot seems to take comfort in sleeping close to his adoptive family!

Loot, happy, well-fed, and loved...three years after being found as a mere skeleton of a pup, hanging onto life by a thread. This is why we know what we did was right for all.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Happy Holiday Update - Peanut, aka "Old Guy"

On one of our first days rescuing pets in New Orleans (Sept. 2005, post Hurricane Katrina and just a day after Hurricane Rita), Lacey and I found the dog below quite obviously starved and ill. It was a rescue that took little effort but great heart. The dog was so hungry it could barely stand and we weren't sure it would make it through the night. We nicknamed him "Old Guy', as he seemed ancient and weary, and hoped he would survive. Eric took him to a vet in Jefferson Parish and we waited for the news we were sure would be heartbreaking.

We were wrong. 'Old Guy' not only survived, but actually began to thrive. A fellow rescuer offered to foster Old Guy while we continued our efforts over the next few weeks. When it became clear that Old Guy had no home to return to, our extremely patient and loving foster owner Tom, happily agreed to give Old Guy a safe and wonderful home.

Since then, Old Guy has been given a more appropriate name, "Peanut", and has become a healthy, well-fed, and much -loved companion to Tom. It is a success story for all of us.

We all agreed that this was the best Christmas present we could have received. Knowing that the lives of the animals we rescued from such abhorrent conditions have turned out so well has been as much a gift to us as it is to the animals themselves. We, I, am grateful beyond word and continue to be amazed every single day.

"BEFORE" PICTURES OF OLD GUY/PEANUT (SEPTEMBER 2005) Pic 1. With a can of dog food to tempt him, Lacey prepares the rescue leash and waits.
Pic. 3. Old Guy is rescued and crated and on his way to see an emergency Vet.
(Pix out of order, this is Pic 2) Old Guy is so hungry that Lacey is able to slip the leash on him without incident and the dog continues to eat.
Pic. 4. The signs of hunger and illness are evidenced in Old Guy's skeletal appearance. It has been almost 4 weeks since Hurricane Katrina set in and the levies unleashed their aquatic furor throughout New Orleans. Old Guy has weathered all of that, as well as Hurricane Rita less than 24 hours before this picture was taken.
Old Guy looked so weary and ill that he could barely stand. We didn't think he would return from the Vet...but we were happily surprised to find him waiting for us!

Two and a half years later, Old Guy, now named, 'Peanut,' has found a happy home with Tom.

All signs of the hungry dog we found in New Orleans are long gone. Peanut, who once looked a thousand years old, now thrives. Love is a many splendored thing.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

San Diego Wildfires - volunteering

Yes, I am headed off to aid in the rescue and recovery efforts taking place as a result of the wildfires here in California. The disaster has finally come to my back door, and I'm gearing up to volunteer once again.

Details soon to come...

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


Well folks, it's been a long time, but California may be experiencing a disaster similar to Hurricane Katrina. As our state is being ravaged by wildfire, many people are having to evacuate to safe ground--and many of the evacuation sites and hotels won't allow pets! (The author regrets how pathetic this may be...) So, wonderful organizations such as Noah's Wish have stepped up to help these animals find comfort while their owners are temporarily moved and displaced.

Evacuees can leave their pets and livestock in care of Noah's Wish and volunteers there will care for them until the owners can return and retrieve them. At the moment, many of us that are trained volunteers are being deployed to help. If you are interested in helping, there are so many ways to do it. As was the case with Katrina, donations of supplies and money will needed, so you don't necessarily have to hop on a plane in order to help.

Much is changing quickly here in SoCal, so expect updates. In the meantime, stay tuned and think about donating...

Update on the lawsuit of St. Bernard school shootings

For those who don't know, Mark Steinway at Pasado Safe Haven, has been the power and intelligence behind the lawsuit to convict the people who murdered all the animals in the St. Bernard Shootings. On Pasado's website, he has chronicled the lawsuit, complete with pictures of the guilty parties, photos of the owners who lost dogs in the horrible massacre, and copies of the necropsy reports. If you want to know how justice is being sought, click this link: Pasado's law suit

Also, if you scroll down the page, you'll find Tshirts that Pasado is selling to raise funding. For those of you who can not imagine ever leaving your home without your pet, you will be happy to see the logo on these shirts, "NOT WITHOUT MY PET."

THey are a group worth supporting, and they have been one of the only animal organizations that actually followed through AFTER Katrina. THey didn't just claim victory and leave. They continue to bring justice to such a horrible tragedy.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Gone, but not forgotten...

I personally took each of these photos in St. Bernard Parish (New Orleans). These three are from Beauregard Middle School, where many dogs were mercilessly shot and killed in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. This tragic event remains unsolved, and the people responsible for murdering these animals still have not been brought to justice.In the foreground, milk bones are scattered across the floor, left behind by owners of the animals as the owners were forced to evacuate without their pets. Shortly after the people were evacuated, the dogs were all brutally shot. From the bullet wounds and the location of the animals, it is clear that the shootings were vicious, intentional and unnecessary. In the upper right corner of the photo, the body of a dog lies dead, still chained to the corner. Several bullet holes were found in its body.
This handwritten message reads, "In this room are 6 adult dogs & 4 puppies. Please save them! Kit"

The dogs were inside, all dead. Each had multiple bullet wounds. The puppies were still curled next to their mother's belly.
On this wall, the following is written: "There is one very nice dog in here. Please do not shoot her. Please find her a good home. Her name is "Angel"

Angel was also nearby, dead from bullet wounds. If you believe that there are no coincidences in this world, maybe "Angel" was born to shepherd her furry friends on to their next journey...

One important note: The area that this school was located in did NOT flood. The school was also several levels tall, and animals were found on upper levels, with plenty of food, blankets and ventilation sources.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Two-year Anniversary

Two years later, the memories are as fresh as they were a week after our return. It is still hard to comprehend that it all happened. It's almost as if it were another person's adventure, surreal and enormous, yet from the sharpness of each detail, my mind knows I was there. Each animal we encountered was important, whether they had passed, were clinging to life or excited to be found. Each holds a special spot in my heart and will likely never escape the detail of my memory. They changed me, those animals, and showed me how to do extraordinary things in the wake of a horrific tragedy. They showed me that I could make a difference just because I cared.

So, this year, the anniversary is in honor of those animals. By their very existence, and in some, their passing, they showed me what it meant to care.

Please note: All the photos will be moving to a new website within the next two weeks. The links should be updated, but feel free to contact me if you are unable to access them.

Monday, June 18, 2007

St. Bernard Shootings

This link is a news story that's running about the animal victims in the St. Bernard schools shooting.

It's been nearly two years and I still can't read these articles without being right back in those rooms again.

Here's what I remember (and apologies if you read this in an earlier posting--below, keep scrolling) and what's still fresh in my mind...

The school was dark, and sunlight was disappearing quickly. We entered on the ground level, in a swift, but quiet fashion. We didn't know where to look, yet were already in fear of what we'd see. We'd spent weeks rescuing animals and had seen our share of very sad stories of the dead and wounded. We were accustomed to hard situations and loss upon loss, but the feeling that afternoon was different. Unbelievable, somehow.

No one spoke as we made our way quietly up the stairs, carefully looking around us and watching our feet. No one wanted to inadvertently misstep.

Up the stairs, we saw the first note--Angel's note. A telling notice scrawled across the stairwell wall in marker, "...Please do not shoot her. Her name is Angel..." By now you've all read about the infamous wall writing, but seeing it that day felt unimaginable. Though I stood on the floor in front of it--mind going numb, heart guarded--I still had hope...hope that what I would find would not match the gruesome story conjured on the wall. I still believed the words might not have come true.

Ascending the stairs just a few steps would stop me cold. The dog that lay before me was not what I was prepared to see. I knew they had been shot, and I had seen my share of departed animals in the weeks prior, but this, oh...this was nothing short of a massacre. It was clear from that first glance that this dog's tragic end had come as he was RUNNING AWAY. He'd almost made it downstairs and instead was shot cold on the landing and left to die a horrific death. It was awful.

Oh, it was awful.

And it never got easier.

What I remember most vividly, however, was the way my boots stuck to the floor. The congealed blood made sticking sounds and I could feel the pull of my feet to the floor with each step. There is a smell associated with the blood as well, and I associate one with the other. To me, it's the sound and smell of unnecessary and tragic carnage, and I don't think I'll ever forget the memory of it.

There were other horribly tragic scenes in that school, as well as other local schools, yet I can't write about them tonight. It opens wounds for me that are easily scratched raw again in just a few minutes. I still suffer when I think back to that awful day. I still can't believe that what I saw was real. I still can't believe we live in a world where such mindblowing carnage was allowed to happen--and when it did, the news of the tragedy barely made a dent in the overall media coverage.

Once upon a time, a thriving and incredibly advanced society fell because its people were too involved in their own lives to notice that the civilization they'd created was crumbling before them. Let me tell you...On the day I entered St. Bernard Parish and witnessed the aftermath of an inexcusable tragedy, the ghosts of the Roman Empire were present. When those many dogs fell, they left a message loud and clear....What we seek to, and let destroy, will destroy us in turn.

If you are reading this, do not stay silent. Do not sit still. Be the voice of those animals who so tragically lost their lives that day. Do not let their deaths keep you quiet.

Let us all learn from these mistakes, whoever we are.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

What remained...

The top photo was taken in New Orleans parish. You can see the high water mark over that rose over the first floor of this home. Imagine the loss. The second photo I took of a building just outside St. Bernard parish (Help 8 Souls, No Wake)...which clearly had been evac-ed through the roof. The final two photos are of the same home, where the water reached the roof. We went to this home in search of a beagle, and when we spoke to the owner's daughter, she still had no information (4 weeks after the storm and flooding) on where her Mother was or whether she was still alive. From the outside, you can't see how great the damage is to the home, but inside, this home was completely destoyed. The floorboards in the living room were warped 5 ft. high, and all the wet, moldy, bloated furniture had been wedged into each doorway and crevice. We had to crawl across mud, sludge and broken furniture, and up a broken attic stairway to look for the woman and her dog. Sadly, we found neither. We did photograph all the markings on the home though, and read them to the the woman's daughter. We hoped they might help her reunite with her Mother. And while I usually reserve this blog for animals, I felt these images were poignant this week, and should be shared. Remember, it still isn't over down there.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Animal Supplies in Ghostown

The Dryades YMCA school served as a supply station for animals after Hurricane Katrina, but was abandoned as the city was evacuated. I took this photo the day before Hurricane Rita hit New Orleans. Eric, Billy, Lacey, Jennifer, Matt and I stopped to rummage through the wet supplies that were strewn across the lawn. We managed to salvage crates, food, treats, dishes (for food and water) and other basic supplies from the soggy mess. The palate of bottled water was a saving grace, and we used tons of it to quench the palates of the thirsty animals all over the city. After a few days of picking through the soggy, moldy, bug-infested and very ripe-smelling supply pile at the Y, we formed a human conveyor belt and transferred the bags of dog and cat food (seen in top photo), and stacked everything that we could salvage on the porch of a home across the street. This served as a food supply outpost for us, and many other animal rescuers we never met or knew the names of, to feed and water many of the sick and stranded pets throughout New Orleans. I often wondered what the owners of that purple-and-pink home would have thought if they could have seen all the pet food stacked high across their front porch, and someday, I hope to be able to hang this photo on their front door with a big note that says "THANKS FOR HELPING US SAVE THE PETS". Their neighborhood then was nothing more than a ghost town as I shot these photos. No sound, other than the rustle of the wind, or our quick footsteps padding across the Y's lawn, could be heard. The city was as quiet as death as we endlessly combed it in search of signs of life. These supplies, likely donated by thousands of strangers who will remain forever unknown, were key to both rescuing the pets we found, and keeping countless others alive. It's hard for me to look at the photos and not feel the height of the moments. In this rare case, the pictures pinpoint and capture life-changing moments in my life.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Camping in New Orleans

We set up camp in NOLA in a Rite-Aid parking lot in Jefferson Parish. We were happy to be in a dry, safe, quiet place while kenneling our rescues. Down the road, just outside hard-hit Saint Bernard parish, where the flooding was high and the damage immense, I photographed this camper that had been destroyed in the flood. Sights like this kept those of us with dry accomodations silent.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Remembering the Lost...

For many reasons, the juxtaposition of this scene drew me to it. I photographed this in New Orleans in September 2005. I think it says enough without words.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

The little Loot we found

Eight months ago, this was what the little puppy we found in New Orleans looked like. I am posting it to remind myself of just how precarious those first days of his rescue were, and how many times he should have met his end, but didn't.

In this photo, he's nestled in with Trip, Lacey's three-legged pitbull rescue. Trip took an unusual liking (or tolerance for) little Loot, and acted as the surrogate "parent" for awhile. (Remember Dr. Seuss' , "Are you my mother?"

So, while I'm busily working on the Katrina story, I thought it might be good to post a shot of one of our success stories.

Stay tuned for more on the book, and perhaps an excerpt or two of its content!

Saturday, April 22, 2006

The way life should be

I shot this photo on the beach in Boracay, Philippines. It seemed like a literal photo of how I view life...always near the footsteps of a dog, trying to be respectful of their steps, and looking to see where they lead me.

I like when art mirrors reality.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Katrina--my experience, my pictures

For all of you that are new to this blog and want to hear more about my experience at Hurricane Katrina, here's how:

-Scroll all the way to the bottom of this blog.
-Read from bottom post up.
-All posts are in chronological order, so to read the gritty stuff about the first days, right up through the updates and current reunites...scroll UP. Seems backward, but it'll make sense once you try it (just read bottom to top!)

--All PHOTOS can be accessed simply by clicking the "Cat's photos" link on the LEFT side of this page. Actually, all the photos still are not up (I know, I'm lame), but I'll try to get to them soon. Just bug me for them and the rest will appear.

And stay tuned...I just returned from the MOST AMAZING to respond to disasters in which animals need to be rescued and sheltered. The training was through Noah's Wish, one of the most incredibly organized and personable animal organizations I've yet to come across. These people are not only super savvy about disaster management and animal rescue, but are some of the most humble, accessible, and genuinely kind people in the animal world. Unlike some of the bigs, they aren't looking for fame and power, but merely to save animals that are affected by disaster. It seems so simple, yet so many of the other groups got it wrong in New Orleans. It was really refreshing to find a group so organized and genuine. After all, isn't the reason we all gravitated toward this kind of work simply because we wanted to help animals and make a difference?

And hey, getting to meet Cesar Milan in person and listen to him talk about animal behavior was a pretty nice little bonus to an already SPECTACULAR weekend!

Having said that, Terri Crisp, pretty much rocks the house too! In my mind, she has just set a new standard for who I want to be when I grow up.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Loot's hygiene routine (new pix!)

Who would believe this is the same scrawny puppy we pulled out of New Orleans??


A dog who LIKES his teeth being brushed? That must be a first.

And the eyes on this dog...geez, he could break your heart with those 'puppy dog' eyes of his when he was a baby, and he can do it still today.

Need I even mention those lopsided ears? Gosh, how we loved them!

Loot is one lucky little dog, isn't he?

Updates on Rescues/Reunites

Yes, it's been nearly two months (!) since my last post, but I'm still here...and I will keep keep checking!

I have a whole bunch of pictures to add, but haven't had time to upload many, so stay tuned. Soon (maybe today...) I will post them as well.

HOGHEAD: Hoghead took a long cross-country trip from Tennessee to Los Angeles. He is now being trained by Brandon Fauche, a resident dog whisperer who runs a very special and wonderful animal sanctuary called "Canine Connections". Brandon is AMAZING and to see his work is mind-blowing. There are 60+ dogs living on-site and every single one of them can co-mingle with one another. There are pits and rotties and chows and akitas, and daschunds and labs, and all sorts of mutts, and they all get along. I watched him go through the facility and let them all out of their respective kennels and then run over to the central meet-and-play area. It was amazing. It was so quiet! The only sound was that of their paws hitting the ground as they pranced about, and there wasn't a single bark or growl that I could detect the whole time I was there. Amazing. Pics will be loaded soon.

PIGLET: Our hope is that Piglet will also have a chance to be trained with Brandon, but we need to raise a few more dollars to get her there. I haven't seen the most recent total, but I think we're within a couple hundred dollars of getting her here, so we should have good news soon. (Again, if you want to donate, you can hit the "Donate" button on the left.

(A big THANKS to all that donated money for Piglet and Hoghead. We rescued them, but now they're being saved..and that comes from all of you who have graciously donated).

BETSY: Betsy got a lovely new home in San Francisco and she's doing great. Her new owners are finding great joy in spoiling her and making her a part of their family. She has befriended their cat, Max, too! We are waiting on pictures from them, and will post when we have them.

LOOT: Our formerly scrawny little pup is thriving in Maine, and is growing up very fast. He's learned alot of new things since his days in New Orleans and continues to amaze all of us (even from afar). He's learned to love baths, getting his teeth brushed and to enjoy ham-and-egg breakfasts. He is clearly spoiled rotten and loving every minute of it. And Loot's newest title is "big brother"! Tracey and Adam just increased their family to three kids (dogs), and Loot is now big brother to an Akita/Chow mix named Lola. Now we'll see if Loot can show Lola all the wonderful things that Lexi taught him. Let's all keep our fingers crossed that Loot also learns how to pee outside and not in! We don't want him teaching bad habits to his new sibling!

MARCEL: Marcel returned to his owners (finally!) in December, after extensive heartworm treatment. Leslie, Joey and Misty were beside themselves when it was finally time for them to be reuinted with Marcel. After losing everything (their home and all of its contents were destroyed by Katrina's flooding), they were overjoyed to have their missing family member returned to them. Life isn't easy for them, though. Seven months after Hurricane Katrina, Leslie, Joey, Misty (and now, Marcel) are all still living with a cousin in the cousin's trailer in Louisiana. They've been there since the Hurricane and FEMA still hasn't gotten them the trailer they were promised. It's bad enough that they've waited seven months for a place to live, but to make matters worse, Joey is in the end-stages of cancer. Leslie said they are just hoping for a place of their own to make his final days comfortable. She also said that Marcel, dear little lab that he is, is laying aside Joey, faithfully, and growling when people try to come near him...protecting him, she says. And though we can't change the outcome for Joey or speed up the FEMA trailer process, I sure am glad that we were able to give them back Marcel. As all of us know, our animals always make our lives better.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

One on the way...!

There is good news tonight in Dogland...

Hoghead, the pit bull who tugged at our heartstrings in New Orleans (and gave us quite a run for our money, bless his little canine heart), is...are you ready for this?...IN TRANSIT on his way to Los Angeles!

Yes, in a couple of days, His Royal Hogheadedness will arrive in Hollywood, where he will be enrolled in "college"...(aka training with the masters!) In a few short hours, I will be headed out to pick him up and deliver him to the next step of his little journey. It seems almost too good to be true.

Thanks to the generous people who donated money, we had enough to put Hoggy's plan in motion. We are still hoping to raise the additional funds to bring Hoghead's sister Piglet out here as well, but we've haven't got enough just yet.

A special thanks goes out to the really special few who have offered to transport him from Dickson, TN, El Paso, TX, Arizona, New Mexico and California.

I'm amazed at how many people are willing to step in to help a dog in need, long after the tragedy. It's inspiring that even 6 months past the devastating rescues of the Katrina animals, people are still giving to the furry little ones in need. It's that kind of thing that makes me feel that I have touched life at its core. Seeing and experiencing the power of someone making a difference is an incomparable feeling--one that will forever change how I view life and what I choose to do with it.

See, good deeds, no matter how little they seem, really do change the world. It's so basic that we miss it. Yet here is a great example. If I've said it once, I'll say it again, PAY IT FORWARD.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Hoghead and Piglet to meet The Dog Whisperer!


Hoghead and Piglet, two of the pit bulls we rescued in New Orleans, are going to be given a second chance at life, love and the pursuit of dogginess. They've been accepted by Brandon Faucher, a man who trained with Cesar Millan (aka The Dog Whisperer, --check out his show on National Geographic!). Brandon is following in Cesar's footsteps and has agreed to take our two pit babies on to "rehab" them and give them another shot at life.

But, as always, there is a price to pay. We have to raise $1,000 per dog just to send them to the Dog Whisperer, and then another ~$500 or so to transport them (by plane) to California. (They are currently in Tennessee.) When we can get them out here, I will pick them up and drive them to Brandon's from the airport (can't wait to see Hoggy and Piggy again!), but first, we have to get them here. At the moment, we have about $1,000 in donations, and are hoping to raise another $1500 more. all you pit lovers and animal activists and folks who are just plain happy to see these wonderful rescues finally get their day in the sun....if you could spare even $10, it would help us get Hoghead and Piglet to their final destination.

There are two ways to donate:

1. Dickson County Animal Shelter's 501(c)3 Katrina Animals fund--This is where Hoggy and Piggy are currently residing. The Shelter has a special fund just for the Katrina animals, which will be used for H&P's transport and transfer to the Dog Whisperer.

2. You can still donate on this site (link is marked "DONATE" on the left side of page). All donations should be marked "Hoghead and Piglet"...and all donations received will go DIRECTLY to H&P's transfer and transport. (I promise!)

Please help. Again, even if you are tight for cash (oh, how I know this feeling!), even $10 will help. We are appreciative of all who have donated thus far, and are grateful to all who can contribute to our final send-off of animals.

This is a reason to celebrate! Stay tuned. I'll post pix as soon as Hoghead arrives! (he's expected to come ASAP!)

Saturday, December 31, 2005

Happy New Year from Cat & Comet!

Friday, December 30, 2005

Seventh Hour Plea--Two pit bulls in need

We are desperately looking for either a rescue group, or a very experienced Pit bull owner/handler that can help us solve the problem of two pit bulls who were rescued in New Orleans. There are two, a male and a female, who would make great pets for the right owner, but as pits go...the right owners are hard to come by.

Please, if this is you, contact me immediately at: or the Humane Society of Dickson County.

DO NOT CALL IF YOU HAVE NO EXPERIENCE WITH PITS! These two are not for the feint-hearted. They must be placed with people who truly understand and LOVE pits. They are very special cases.

But please, if you are one of the special few who handle pits or run a pit rescue, please call us immediately.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Update on Loot!

"Loot" the puppy that we rescued in New Orleans is pictured here with his new family, Tracey, Adam and Lexi (his big sister!). He arrived at his new home in Maine several weeks ago and is adjusting well. He's been learning how to share his toys with Lexi and how to play in the snow. Maybe for Christmas, he'll learn how to pee outside!

Anyway, we wish Adam, Tracey and Lexi the best with their new little treasure from Lousiana, and thank them for giving our special rescue such a good life. It's hard to believe this is the same dog that started out with the world against him. This is surely one phoenix arising from the ashes!

Stay tuned for updates on Loot's progress and his adjustment in Maine!

Photos courtesy of Tracey & Adam.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Santa Claws Success

How do you make a dog smile? Well, for starters, don't make him sit on Santa's lap, because the big red suit is a little scary to a furry baby!

But, put two babes behind the camera and watch the canines grin...

Okay, so the babes had dog treats and squeaky toys and fancy tricks and occasionally the help of a little elfin dog named Comet, but still...the magic worked!

So, this is Chandra and I at the event she talked me into. Now, this fearless feral kitty whisperer is in New Orleans rescuing more four-legged furries...trapping, caring for and giving shelter to pets in need. She's not only brainy and beautiful, but she has a (vegan) heart of gold. Hats off to my new friend who is still fighting the fire in NOLA. Many animals will find better endings because of this lovely lady.

New Orleans brought me many new friends. We fought hard and learned alot about disaster, distress and die-hard resolution. Life may never be the same, but I'll have some new friends in my life that I will be bonded to because of it. Chalk it up to the animals saving me once again.

Oh, and if I've said it once, I'll say it again. The disaster in New Orleans is not over. When you go sit in your cozy chair tonight in your warm home and your seasonal happiness, remember that the fight is not over down there. And then get up tomorrow and make a difference. There are still many animals (and people) in need. Don' t believe everything you read (damned Humane Society telling us the problem is over) and resolve to help to contribute in any way that you can. Skip your Starbucks and send a couple bucks to Best Friends or ARNO. And damn it, DO NOT BUY FROM BREEDERS, people! There are too many animals that don't have homes and one of them is waiting for you. It's a complete cop-out to say that you can't find what you're looking for in a shelter. There are shelters all across the United States that will help transport an animal to you. Everytime you buy from a breeder, you are responsible for putting another animal (sometimes several) to death. And yes, that is harsh, but it's the truth.

I'm sorry, but I just don't buy the bullshit line that you just can't get what you're looking for from anyone but a breeder. You are smoking crack if you believe that, and setting bad examples for children. And damn it, dogs are being euthanized when you do that.

How's that for Happy Holidays?

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Thoughts Tonight

I wasn't going to post again tonight. I wanted to let the picture and plea for Betsy to stand out; for everyone to know that finding her a home is the most important thing right now, but I can't.

I've been on hiatus. Not really, but I've been trying to resume my old life, while still juggling the animal rescue issues that are left to deal with (finding adoptive homes, communicating with owners, uploading pictures...the kinds of residual rescue issues we are all facing after our time in NOLA). But aside from the day-to-day, I've been on heart-hiatus, you might say. I wasn't letting myself relive those moments from the rescue. I couldn't. Honestly, it's been too hard.

But tonight, I posted for Betsy on Craig's list, and I started to read through the postings that were out there in the last week or so under the "Pets" section (for NOLA). All of a sudden, seeing the photos, hearing the desperation, reading the pleas of owners...made it all come flooding back. And then, I found a post that someone had written regarding the St. Bernard school shootings. They meticulously listed all the CNN video packages (there are three: 9/30, 10/1, and 10/20), describing the carnage and the owner's losses.

It broke my heart all over again.

Then I read the stories of other rescuers who have seen what I have seen. I couldn't even finish reading them. My tears were too heavy.

And then I looked at Matt's website again ( Every one of those dogs looked like animals I had seen, fed, cared for. I identified with every rescue worker who held dogs, cats, food and leashes, and I knew how they felt. I saw the photo of a female rescuer who held a leash in her hand, ready to slip gently around the neck of the doggie to the right, while another dog laid dead at her fead. It was all too familiar.

The tears just kept falling.

So here I am tonight, wondering how I will ever make sense of this tragedy and thinking about how I would ever live through it if my loyal pup of 10 years were to be lost, or separated or shot after surviving a flood. I have no answers. No. Only tears.

How will we ever heal from this loss of life, this horrible lesson in survival, this painful road to rehabilitation, this dicotomy of feeling death and revival all at once?

There is no hollywood ending tonight. Instead, sleep arrives as a light drizzle of tears wash across my pillow.

This dog needs a home ASAP

Meet Betsy.

She was rescued in Lousiana and now she is in a kill shelter in Tennessee, waiting to be rescued. She desperately needs a good home...and fast!

She is about 4 years old and she is a sweet girl who LOVES attention. She likes to run and play, but mostly she likes to be petted and cared for. She's not a big fan of other dogs, so she should probably go to a family who wants just one that they can totally spoil. Spoil this girl, and she'll be loyal for life!!

She's a mix...maybe part Australian cattle dog and maybe even part beagle, but she's healthy and happy and really, really needs a home...quickly.

Betsy was surrendered by her owner, so she is available for adoption NOW. If you, or anyone you know, is interested in her, please contact me ( ASAP. She faces euthanization in the near future if a home can not be found.

She's had her life totally turned upside down in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, and has experienced and now needs to be rescued once more. Please help us find her a good home!

Santa Claws Event

SANTA CLAWS (and his HOT HUMAN HELPERS) is coming to (a) town (near you)!!

To help raise money for animals in need, I'll be making a cameo appearance at Petsmart next weekend as Santa's helper!

Santa will be there to take photos with your pet (only $5 !), so stop on by to see Chandra and I (and Mystery Santa! Oy!) sprinkle all the doggies and kitties with Christmas cheer....can't beat two girls in santa hats, can you??

Here's the info:

Date: Sunday Dec. 11, 2005
Time: 2:00-4:30 pm
Location: Petsmart, 2160 E. 17th St., Santa Ana, CA 92701

All animals and their owners welcome!

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Trailer Park Rescue

Where are all the animals still trapped you wonder?

Lacey and I stumbled on this trailer park during our second rescue trip to NOLA. We were out trapping/rescuing for ARNO when we came across this badly devastated trailer park. At this location, we were able to rescue 4 cats. Dusk was falling as we were leaving and a pack of dogs showed up as well.

The destruction in places like this is so bad that owners can not return, and as a result, there is no one in this neighborhood to feed and water the animals on a regular basis. When this area is bulldozed, these animals will lose their home. In addition, since most animals have not been spayed or neutered, the dogs and cats that live here are likely breeding new pups and kitties and causing the problem to grow exponentially.

Think of this when you're reading the words of Wayne Pacelle at the Humane Society (HSUS) or hearing the denials of LASPCA that the problem is not a big one. Their denials and head turning continue to exacerbate the problem and make the lives of independent rescue groups more difficult.

So next time you're planning to donate to HSUS or SPCA, remember where they were when the chips were down...unavailable for comment or rationalizing their shut down of operations months before the problem was truly under control.

And then ask yourself why federal money (Congress) did NOTHING to help animals during this horrible disaster. Can someone please define "civilized" society to me?

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Honoring a good man

There is a new star tonight shining brightly from the heavens. To the man who gave me my start in California and supported me from the beginning until long after I was gone..."We're not selling Hula Hoops here, people!"...Mike Mott, you were a great boss, leader, friend and person; you will be greatly missed.

(This has nothing to do with animals or animal rescue or New Orleans, but had to be said.)

A Salute to Katrina Volunteers

On yesterday's Oprah show, Oprah honored many Katrina rescue workers by being on her "Favorite Things" show. While I was bummed at first that I missed my opportunity to submit our story, as I was watching, I was reminded of some important things.

All of us, those who were named and those who were not, did something good because our hearts were big and our minds were determined. We were so moved by the horror of Katrina that we threw practicality to the wind and did something we felt was right. Nobody called us and told us to come, and in most cases, no one had time to respond to our inquiries about how or where we could help. A great number of us went blindly, and held fast to the belief that our help would be needed.

That ideal, that I could be useful and do something to help others, was what fueled me. I believe it was also the driving force for the mass grassroots rescue effort as well. And make no mistake, without all those people that threw caution to the wind--the people who took part in an extraordinary volunteer effort--the rescue and relief work in Hurricane Katrina's aftermath would not have been so successful. This is especially true for the pet rescue and relief (which is still on-going--don't believe the stories that tell you otherwise), but was not limited to just animal rescue.

In the midst of devastation and disaster, there were all these angelic grass rooters around that were being useful and helping others. It was a sea of compassion. So many different people from such varied backgrounds were bound together by a burning need to help. There was something special about seeing people in their real element, unburdened by the ego of who they were based on their job, education or ethnicity. It was a great leveling of humanity AND resulted in accomplishing great things.

WHY? My answer: Love, compassion, goodness and kindness. We proved that we don't have to destroy, damper, damage or darken to make important changes in the world. We simply showed up because we knew people and animals were in need of help, and we believed that if we wanted to help, we could.

So many miracles happened in the wake of such great tragedy. Let's not miss out on the most important lessons we've learned.

Katrina Dogs Needing Adoption

Here are two more dogs available for adoption from the animals we rescued in New Orleans. The first dog is a black lab named Willow. She is just the sweetest thing you have ever seen. She was sick and malnourished when we got her, but after a few weeks of care from Lacey and her Mom, Willow is thriving. She now runs around with the other dogs and acts 5 years younger. Willow is about 8 years old and needs someone who will love her through her older years. She will make someone a very happy companion...and she's great with kids and other dogs! The second dog is a brown and white pit mix named Gracie. Gracie's rescue can be seen on the video link to the left side of this page. Gracie is very friendly and loveable and doesn't have a mean streak in her! She is good around both people and other dogs. Gracie, bless her little heart, was able to convert a die-hard Lhasa apso owner into a pit bull lover! (Lisa, no names mentioned!) Gracie will definitely light up any home she is sent to.

These animals owners have not returned, nor have they claimed their animals. As such, the dogs are considered foster-to-adopt dogs. Please either contact CAT ( or Lacey at the Humane Society of Dickson County. All animals are available for immediate adoption.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Animals for Adoption (immediate)


We are survivors of Hurricane Katrina and we are in need of loving people who will adopt us and give us life.

Currently, we are in a kill-shelter in Tennessee and sadly, other animals are being put down to continue making room for us to stay there. The sooner we can be adopted, the fewer animals that will have to be euthanized in our place. Save us, and you will be saving other lives as well.

To adopt either (or both!) of us, please either post a with your interest to this blog, or email CAT ( OR call the Humane Society of Dickson County: 615-446-7455.

(To see clearer photos of us, please look at CAT's photo album:DOGS THAT NEED ADOPTION)
Doggie #1: black/white Australian cattle dog mix, approx. 7 years old, was raised with an Australian shepherd (already adopted out), and is good with other dogs.

Doggie #2 (Betsy): doberman/dashchund/beagle? MIX!! Very sweet dog that LOVES attention and is good with other dogs, sucker for love! Female about 5 years old.

Please give us a good home...

Thursday, November 10, 2005

The current situation in NOLA

Having just returned from NOLA, I can tell you that there is still a need for volunteers there. The situation has changed significantly since the rescue days of September and early October, but the need still exists.

The major animal organizations (HSUS, ASPCA, etc.) have pulled out, and the smaller 'official' rescue groups are being primarily staffed by grass roots volunteers. In my opinion, the success of pets rescued and reunited thus far has been because ordinary people felt the need to come help, and DID, despite not having training, money, or an invitation to do so. Certainly, this is the case now. Every volunteer I met was there because they felt compelled, not because anybody called them up and told them to go. And by doing so, we were all able to make a difference down there.

The situation is this: Many animals who either escaped from their homes or were set free are still running the streets. The companion dogs have started to run in packs with dogs who were stray before the flood. Cats who were pets are now wild and running scared. Getting them, RESCUING them, is just not as easy as it was. The effort now is focused on feeding and watering animals throughout the city, and now, trapping in certain areas that animals have grown accustomed to.

The problems are: There are still not enough volunteers down there to help feed, water and trap. Some days there are 10 people, some days there are 2. After all this, we're going to let the animals starve because the big rush is over? God, that pains me greatly. And now, the even greater issue is that Governor Blanco has blindly issued a "Stop Rescue" order for Louisiana. By her order, no out-of-state vets are allowed to come in to help this situation, and they have asked all people to STOP FEEDING AND WATERING ANIMALS. (Is this woman smoking crack?)


We think we live in a civilized country and yet this elected politician makes a unilateral decision TO LET PETS DIE and has spurned offers from licensed animal doctors who would help save pets and help sterilize animals so that they are not producing an even greater animal population in New Orleans. After all we've been through to rescue people and animals, and to help the city get its feet back on the ground, they are ASKING for another problem? Brilliant.

So, if you are reading this....DO SOMETHING. Don't just sit there and feel bad. If you can get to New Orleans to help, GO! Try to get other people to go. Talk about it at work, at soccer games, at the gym. Make it known that there is still a problem. And WRITE TO THE GOVERNOR THAT HAS NO HEART, BLANCO.

If ill-informed, poor decisionmaking lawmakers such as Blanco continue to make bad decisions, it is up to the grass rooters to stand up and make a difference. We could picket her house and tell her what a moron she is for making such ridiculous decisions, but instead, let's just SAVE THE ANIMALS.

After being there TWICE now, I can tell you there is a need. I will blog about my trip soon, I promise....but for right now, I am begging every person reading this to STAND UP and MAKE A DIFFERENCE. Animals are dying now and you can help!

As David Meyer has said...JUST SHOW UP. How many times in your life do you get to really make a difference?

Monday, November 07, 2005

Struggling to Survive-THEN

Pix of Loot THEN

Time Heals Some Wounds-NOW

Just 5 weeks ago, "Loot" was rescued from a home in New Orleans, where he'd been left behind in a home by rescuers that had missed him when they took his parents. He was malnourished, disease-ridden and scared. He could barely stand on his back legs and wasn't quite sure how to walk yet. His body was covered in mange, flea bites, and abcesses, but he had survived a hurricane, a flood and being mistakenly orphaned and still he did not die. No, this little guy was strong.

We took him to Tennessee, feeding him mashed potatos from an MRE to fatten him up, and then smothered him with more food, attention, and of course, LOVE. In the weeks after my departure, Lacey continued to spoil him rotten, even carting him around on her hip as she did laundry or letting him sleep on her lap when she balanced the check book. At night he socialized with her 6 other dogs and learned how to act like a dog. During the day, he followed her to the Shelter and played amongst the shelter's permanent animals as well. Within weeks, everything in his little life changed.

When I finally saw him again last week, I was amazed to see the life that had been breathed back into him. Gone were the protruding ribs, the mange and the skinny belly, replaced by a healthy and very spoiled little pup. And after all our little "Loot" has been through, he's proved that he is one very strong little survivor.

Yes, there are good stories to be told, and I'm happy to tell this one.