Thursday, October 06, 2005

David's heading back to New Orleans - October 6

Posted by David Meyer

Well, there is a strong call for me to go back to New Orleans. I have been trying to coordinate things remotely, setting up numerous shipments of animals to other safe shelters via trucks and planes. Poor Pia has had the world on her shoulders, trying to coordinate temporary housing for the pets we are still saving, and Jane got bitten by a feral cat, developed an infection and is in a hospital (or, in any case, had to drive home and is on intravenous antibiotics). So, thanks to the generosity of Ellen Little, I will be heading back to New Orleans to again help oversee rescue efforts, at least over the weekend. I really hope the big animal organizations step in to reimburse us for our expenses because between air travel, cars, supplies for all the teams and more, many of us are many thousands of dollars in the hole.

Things are very fluid and changing. We have tried to use several smaller makeshift shelters to temporarily house our rescues, but the number of pets we’ve brought in have been overwhelming them. Losing Gonzales was really bad for us. Fewer pets are being found alive in homes, but they are still there, so our mission is not yet complete. We are still saving over 50 a day. And there are many, many family pets still running loose on the streets or hiding under houses.

As some residents are being let in, it is making our job more complex. Some are happy to see us, and others are sad to see we broke into their houses, yet their pets were found dead. I can understand their frustration. Our main concern is that, although some people are being allowed back home, many will never come home, so we must assume that all pets still trapped in homes will starve if we don't get to them. We have the added problem that all the pets we fed and watered and let remain in their homes are now again facing starvation, as we have not had the staff and, to some extent, the organization to continue feeding them. It is all a heavy burden and I am having to make statistical decisions about what will save the most pets, and know we cannot save them all.

We are continuing to hone our database of homes we have not reached, but it seems endless. It is all so tiring and I just want my life back. The images of these emaciated and forlorn dogs and cats are burned into my mind. Just before Hurricane Rita, I rescued a puppy, but could not get the mom - I hope I did the right thing by separating them. All told, the rescue effort, I would guess, has saved maybe 10,000 pets. One at a time. We could have saved so many more had there been better organization earlier on. I regret that I did not take initiative and get involved sooner-thank God Pia did so or I might never have gotten involved at all. Pia is a real hero in all of this, a petite woman, weighing all of 100 lbs, but with the fire of a 100 megaton bomb. We have all given so much and really suffered emotionally and financially, as we are not being paid at all for these many weeks of work. It has been tough, but we view our task as holy. The people I have met are really unstoppable.


Blogger Kristina Provost said...

Hi David. I want to thank you for firstly, the e-mail I received from you asking for anyone to come and help out, secondly for your compassion, and last but not least everything that you have done, not only now from home, but most importantly, everything you did at Lamar-Dixon. I did answer you plea for volunteers, and came down to Lamar-Dixon. I saw first hand all of your hard work, as you sent my partner and I off to search what was left of New Orleans. Without you, Jane, and everyone else in the command post, we could not have done what we did. I was not fortunate enough to meet Pia, she sounds equally amazing. In the two days that we went to the city we were able to rescue 9 pets, one puppy that was literally hours away from death. This many sound like so few, but I know as you do that it is incredible after four weeks to save this many. Coming home was equally as difficult for me, there is so much guilt in knowing that there is so much to be done, and so many more pets to save. Thank you David, this experience has changed my life. Don't beat yourself up, and keep up the good work. I feel very confident in saying that you Jane, Pia, and everyone else that have done so much, and are still doing so much, are saints.

4:28 PM  
Blogger said...

David. You were the most organized and totally understodd what needed done. Had you been on board from day 1 we would have saved 20,000 animals. You would have NEVER allowed them to say "we can't take anymore animals" You would have went down the street and rented more space. We had the volunteers and many got turned away in the early days. I just watched the Animal Planet special on the animal rescuers and was appalled at rescuers with sick animals not being allowed in the gate at Lamar...its all on tape. You don't have room at got get another place and another and another.

7:17 PM  
Blogger Nancy/Cincinnati said...

David, I was a rescuer in NO with the Pasado group. I want to thank you for everything you have done. I wish I would have been able to meet you. I am home now and carry the guilt of not being down there to help the remaining survivors. It helps my heart to know that you are still there and that you won't give up. Please don't. My thoughts and prayers are with you - you are amazing!
Eric, regarding you comments about the Animal Planet rescue special, one of the groups being shown turned away from Lamar is the Pasado group. I am proud to say that they did not take no for an answer. Their role in NO quickly expanded from animal rescue to rescue and shelter.
Thanks to the unbelievable generosity of Lewis Martin in Raceland,LA who donated his farm for as long as they needed it- Pasado was able to go under all the "red tape" and chaos of Lamar Dixon, and run their own shelter. They were able to rescue and care for over 1100 animals.
It is people like David, Eric, and Pasado that got things done. I know we will never feel like it was enough, but i'd rather live with this guilt than the alternative of second guessing my "crazy" idea of driving down to help from Cincinnati and not going at all. Thanks again! and happy belated birthday Eric! Nancy from Cincinnati

11:23 AM  
Blogger TheDevilIsInTheDetails said...

For the next hurricane central ; the easy way to keep going.

1:13 AM  

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