Abbie's Update - September 26
Yesterday, I had a long conversation with David Meyer via his cell phone. I had called him to check in and get a general update about the condition of the city, post-Hurricane Rita. Since David was in the middle of rescue operations in New Orleans, the phone call turned into a sort of ride-along by phone for me. It was incredible. When he first answered the phone, David had just had a terrible experience (one of many); he had entered a home and found a little dog who had starved to death in a bathroom. He was in the process of spray painting his findings on the front door of the house to notify other rescue workers that someone had been to the location: "One dog - dead".
As he left that house, David was approached by a police officer who asked him to check a friend's house for a dog he'd heard was left behind. David followed the officer in his car, but pulled over when he saw two dogs roaming the street. The officer pulled over as well, waiting patiently while David fed and tried to get the dogs into his car. One dog came willingly, but the other was hesitant. After about ten minutes of coaxing, David didn't want to leave the police officer waiting any longer, and he decided he'd come back to get the other dog after he visited the officer's friend's home. That house proved empty, thankfully, but unfortunately, David could not locate the second dog he'd fed. He spray-painted a message on a nearby building to alert other volunteers to the presence of the dog, and he continued on his way. By this time, it was already after 6:00 pm, curfew in New Orleans, but David had one more stop he wanted to make before calling it a day.
The last stop was to check out a house on his list where someone had reported leaving their cat behind. According to David, cats have been very difficult to locate. While walking through a neighborhood, rescuers can hear dogs barking, and they follow the sound to the source. Many dogs have been rescued this way. Cats, of course, can't amplify their voices the way dogs can, and rescuers can walk by hundreds of homes with cats trapped inside without ever knowing it. David was very hopeful he'd be able to find the cat on his list. As he approached the house, he saw one cat sitting in the front yard. The cat was very skittish and, although she ate the food David put down for her, she would not allow him to touch her. He was wondering aloud whether this was the cat on his list when he heard a beautiful sound...loud MEOWING coming from behind the door of the house. It was so loud I could hear it on the phone. David went to a window and was getting ready to break it when the cat jumped up on the windowsill--seeing her alive in there and anxious to see a human being spurred David into action. He jumped up and ran to another window, not hesitating at all before breaking the glass as quietly as possible. He climbed in through the broken window and, covering his nose and mouth to avoid breathing in the horrible smell of rot and mold and weeks of accumulated feces and urine, gathered the kitty into his arms and carried her to safety.
As David headed back to the Lamar Dixon Animal Shelter, his car was filled with four lucky dogs and a very grateful cat. Not bad for half a day's work. I was amazed at how much I'd been able to witness over the phone in just a couple of hours.