Saturday, November 5, 2005

An Apology to the Dogs of New Orleans

This picture is from an article entitled "Shaggy Survivors Hanging on After Katrina" - can you imagine this ghost being your companion animal - you leaving your dog behind and him/her becoming this? How COULD you?


The text below is perhaps the most powerful thing I've read about the Katrina dogs - it so succinctly says what every person in rescue is thinking when they see pictures of what all the abandoned and murdered dogs have been going through and gone through down in the Gulf States - if any of those martyred dogs lives mean anything - maybe they will show that evacuation plans MUST include companion animals. If you don't care enough to take your pets with you when you evacuate - don't have those pets at all. Period. They are as alive as you are and suffer when you're not there. Katrina made that QUITE obvious.

An Apology to the Dogs of New Orleans

We're Sorry...

We're sorry...
Your owners evacuated from the storm and were forced to leave you behind. It must have been very difficult to understand that you weren't welcome in shelters.

We're sorry...
You had to go through the stress of a hurricane without the love and support of your loved ones. It must have been very confusing and frightening.

We're sorry...
Your life has so little value to our leaders that you were not allowed to enter shelters. Their insensitivity is an embarrassment to our nation and more importantly, to them.

We're sorry...
Our leaders are ignorant to the role you play in society and what security and companionship you provide to your loved ones. Watching you cling to trees and remain on rooftops for days and weeks will haunt the ones who loved you...forever.

We're sorry...
Our leaders are so self-centered and out of touch with humanity that they cannot recognize the effect of their callous actions. By viewing a person's respect for life, other than their own, ... you are able to assess their value as a human.

We're sorry...
That you do not understand that you are still loved as you sit there day by day and week after week and watch boats pass you by, because humans assume that only their life is valuable.

What must have gone through your mind?

What must have gone through your mind?
As you watched a storm approach and had to deal with the fear alone.

What must have gone through your mind?
As you watched rescue workers pass you by with empty boats on orders to rescue only humans. You, who have pledged unflinching loyalty to your human.

What must have gone through your mind?
As you were overjoyed to watch rescue workers save humans. Jumping for joy, trying to express your happiness at the arrival of the rescue workers, thinking you were next to be saved, only to be ignored as you watch a half empty boat fade into the distance.

Thirst, hunger, solitude, confusion...

Thank You...

Thank You...
For the joy and companionship you give the elderly. Some people who have lost loved ones have seen their lives made complete with the joy and unconditional love you bestow.

Thank You...
For your work as rescue dogs and the fact that you sometimes give your life so that humans may live.

Thank You...
For your work as assistance dogs for the handicapped. Without your love, care and devotion, many of these people would be confined to their home and would have a limited quality of life.

Thank You...
For your unconditional love...
As much as your owner loves you, you love them ten times more. When they walk outside their house and walk back in...its like they have been gone a week. That's how important they are to you.

Thank You...
For Your Compassion...
You are very sensitive to your humans needs. You sense when they are in pain and know when they are sad. You knew that the very owners that were forced to abandon you, loved you in spite of what was happening...and you forgave them.

Thank You...
For being better than we are...
Your love, care and devotion is an example of what is good.

Thank You...
For not being a politician.
Those who have decided your fate lack the qualities inherent to you. Politicians can't understand the effect abandoning a pet has on animal lovers. They have a different set of values and lack the compassion and understanding to comprehend the love people have for their pets.

Thank you for being there when we need you...

We're sorry we weren't there when you needed us.

I love each and every one of you. Thank you for the quality you have added to my life.

Ric Eddins

I am an unabashed animal lover and question those who aren't'. Dogs and animals in general have been a great source of satisfaction since my childhood. My life has been forever changed by this tragedy, as so many others have, and I am committed to make a difference. We will work through the political system and find a way to make caring for pets in the time of disaster a priority. The emotional damage of people separated by their animals will probably not resonate as important to politicians. As I said, they have a different set of values. We will find a way to make it "politically viable" to actually be there for their constituents. As foreign as that sounds, we are going to make it happen. is a company with a mission. We are animal lovers first, and entrepreneurs second. We are normally "Dogs only" but we love all animals and causes like this will be the only time we vary from our "Dogs only" stance.

"Dog Poltics"


  1. Anonymous5:38 PM

    Howedy, Joan!

    I recognize that most people won't "get" what I'm about to write, but reading this post compels me to say something.

    In short, there is nothing that would stop me from protecting my dogs.

    Whenever a dog is needlessly injured (in a situation that could have easily been prevented), I blame the owner.

    Blame is such a harsh word, and I don't use it lightly. But it is our responsibility to protect those in our care, whether they're children, handicapped individuals, spouses, or pets.

    I don't have dogs for protection. "I" protect "them" from harm, from fear, from hunger and thirst, heat and cold, boredom, and anxiety.

    One of my favourite sayings is one I adapted from a more common version. It goes like this:

    "Hate people who keep dogs for protection.

    They're cowards who are too afraid to bite people themselves."

    If I "hate" anything, it would be people who are knowingly and purposefully unethical...especially towards voiceless and hapless animals. (At least humans can tell you they're being harmed or neglected. Animals will never have that luxury.)

    I don't have much sympathy for anyone who didn't do everything in their power to save their pets from incidents like hurricane Katrina, which includes advanced planning. I mean, you don't get a dog, and not think about what you'll do in case of a fire or flood. You don't get a pet when you live on the gulf coast, and not plan for what you'll do when the next hurricane it most assuredly will.

    Myself, I have an emergency plan in place right now, and there are no natural disasters making their way towards my home. If there were, I'd be as ready as I could be.

    Even if disaster struck while I was away from home, a police officer would actually have to shoot me to keep me from going to my home and rescuing my family and pets.

    I'm shocked that so many people give so many excuses about why they don't protect their pets. Their replies just don't cut it with me.

    I know, with every fibre of my being, that had I been in the gulf coast area at the time (I LOVE it there, by the way, and was just in Biloxi on vacation, a couple of months before the hurricane), I WOULD have evacuated in advance, just as ordered.

    There was advance warning. I would have devised a plan for at least the next couple of days, and then taken it from there. My plans ALWAYS include my dogs, and their safety and security.

    Not having money to stay in a suite at the Four Seasons isn't a credible excuse.

    First, unless you've screwed over every friend and family member you have, you probably know someone who'll let you stay with them at least until the storm passes.

    Second, many, many motels are only $50/night. I simply don't buy it if someone says they can't come up with $150 or $200 to ride out a "killer storm" in some semblance of safety.

    Third, if someone really tries to claim he/she didn't have enough money for even one night at a motel WITH his/her dog, then they probably don't have enough money to ethically care for a dog. I know sounds harsh, but my own vet charges about $100 per visit. My dogs eat about $400 worth of food per month. If I can't afford a dog, I have no business getting one. It's hard to hear, but true.

    Finally, I know that I would starve before I'd let an individual in my care go hungry. If I really didn't have the money for anything...despite planning ahead, working hard to develop a viable career and "saving for a rainy day" I mysteriously found myself completely penniless...any money I did acquire would go to provide food and shelter for my dependents BEFORE me.

    Where dogs are concerned, they are little more than our "slaves" or "prisoners". I sometimes refer to myself as "a benevolent warden", to highlight the fact that my dogs don't have any choices in what happens to them. I decide (or fail to provide for) every aspect of their lives. It is pure luck, when dogs find their ways into the homes of ethical owners. Sadly, all too many dogs aren't so lucky. They suffer. They die long before their time.

    It's shameful.

    Lots of pundits came out, saying that too many dog owners were taking their dog ownership responsibilities too seriously in the wake of Katrina. The numbers tell a far different story, though. Most people don't take their dog ownership responsibilities seriously enough.

    All your dog has is you to protect him/her. Just you. Not your children. Not your spouse. And certainly not your neighbour or strangers. Just you. If you don't protect your dog from harm, no one will.

    Having written all that, I know that many people confuse "repsonsibility" and "ethics" with what many pet owners do, and that is to over-dramatize the place of their pets in their lives.

    Animals exist for their own reasons. They're not here to be our protectors or our confidantes. They don't replace human children, and they are perfectly fine the way they are...with their own doggie thoughts and desires. Projecting our concerns and emotions on to dogs is really a form of hatred. What it really says it they're not okay the way they are...only if they think and act like humans, should we care about them.

    Dogs are fantastic creatures to observe and live with. They're beautifully not human. And, as such, they can't navigate through human society on their own. They need a caring and ethical guide to help them, and keep them safe.

    Most of the dogs in the images from hurricane Katrina have owners who failed them miserably in this regard. I pity the dogs, not their uncaring owners...Not one bit.

  2. Anonymous8:16 PM

    I "get" your post Majorie - completely! Thanks for posting that. I wish more people shared our views.


  3. Anonymous12:10 AM

    I love my dog, but you people are psycho. If it comes to my dog or my kids, my dog is outta luck. If I cannot take my dog to a shelter during a storm then so be it. You people live in a fantasy world that think animals, who generally do not get along with other animals should be able to be in a shelter for humans escaping a natural disaster, together. Where do they shit stupid? You gonna go out and walk them in the middle of Katrina. You people are dumb!

  4. Buddy, thank God I'm not your companion animal - and I hope in your next life - you come back as someone's animal who has the same ideas as you.