They found another cat in the rubble of the Italian quake. Sixteen days after the quake, Pietro was heard meowing for help and was successfully rescued. Gioia was rescued nine days after the disaster. And I think you’ve all read about Romeo, the Golden Retriever who was found alive.
What’s it like to lose your cat—to be separated from her or him after a disaster? I recall meeting a gentleman in Santa Barbara once who had adopted a cat several weeks after a huge fire in the area. He figured the cat ran from the fire and, with no home to go home to, he began to wander, finally finding his way to this good Samaritan’s home.
Recently, I read of a cat that disappeared, only to be found in a neighbor’s garage three months later—thin, weak, but alive.
A friend of ours lost his home to an out of control fire here in CA last month. He wasn’t home at the time, but his dog was. Once he was able to go into the area, he began searching for Maggie. Eventually, a neighbor told him animal control picked her up and he found her at the shelter.
Disasters that come upon us quickly and with more force than expected, can dramatically endanger, not only our lives, but the lives of our pets. And we rely on others to help when we suddenly lose control of our environment.
Along these lines, I read an interesting story about the rescue policies and practices during Katrina. I was stunned and appalled. I think we all read about hoards of people giving up their lives in order to travel to New Orleans and help with the enormous number of animals that were rescued during the storms. I always had images of people helping people with their pets throughout the ordeal. However, according to this story, in the beginning, when rescuers arrived to help stranded people, they were told there were no provisions for pets. Pets were to be left behind. Many people died along with their pets because they wouldn’t leave Fido and Fluffy.
What happened next, I believe, may have changed rescue agencies’ policies forever. At least I hope so. We’ve all seen newsbytes showing animals being rescued in all sorts of situations and disasters. And perhaps this is in part due to a spunky woman named Charlotte Bass Lilly. This is a must-read story of how she became involved in helping to gather up the cats and dogs running the streets, floating down waterways, etc. during the aftermath of Katrina.