I live in New Orleans. An older lady...I live in low-income housing. I have a beloved darling--my cat. And it's hurricane season.
In addition, I still have a driver's license. But my Camaro is long gone. I can swim. But not with a cat under my arm.
Hurricane Preparedness began last week. The administrator here told us that in a forced evacuation, "we could take our pets"--this time--if they fit on our laps. Then I got a letter from The City that said--"No, you can't. Pets will be put into a separate vehicle to follow...."
No! No! And NO! Most pets "put into separate vehicles to follow" (in the past) were never seen again.
Author's note here: When one is elderly, poor, has no family left...or no family here...and lives in low-income housing...one must sign a paper saying they will "go with the City of
New Orleans during an evacuation." No ifs, ands, or buts. Because NOPD or the National Guard WILL drag your sorry ass out of here (without your pet), screaming, in a mandatory evac.
Okay, so here's the deal. I am most-probably already in trouble for arguing with the administrator and the Red Cross and The City over this. We are having a meeting with them on WEDNESDAY (June 18th). I need input and ideas and suggestions from pet lovers EVERYWHERE! Please! No idea is too insignificant. Please write to me!
Shelters do NOT accept pets here during hurricanes. Not the SPCA. Not vets' offices. Not the shelters that shelter humans. Folks? Pet lovers? What is the answer to this? We must find one!
I have a dear friend. During Katrina, she lost everything. Her mother drowned. She lost her house and everything she owned. She and her four cats and three dogs went to the roof (that's how fast the water came up.) I will not go into more of her personal history except to tell you...it's been NINE YEARS. We still sit in my kitchen and cry uncontrollably about these losses. Not about the house. Not about her belongings. But about the look on the faces of her darlings--left behind--as she was pulled off the roof (against her will) into a boat. All pets starved/drowned.
Pet lovers take any pet loss to their graves. (Or the Rainbow Bridge.) Folks shrug--get over it. A pet lover never "gets over it."
There has to be a better way. There has to be a better answer to this!
Please understand. I am not screaming another "Katrina." (May we never see another Katrina.) Levees have been repaired and strengthened, here. But in the U.S., where "Climate Change" has become "dirty words" for the uninformed...in a country/world where "One-Hundred-Year" storm events...now happen every year...I am merely reaching out for better ideas--for all of us. Everywhere.
For me? I love cats--and rats. I love rats! (Please don't recoil and say Ewwww. They are the most loving and funny and wonderful darlings!) I love dogs. I love birds. Hell--I'm just an animal lover--period. They do not deserve to be left behind...or separated from the ones who love and care for them. It's too frightening. It's not fair to them--and it psychologically kills their owners.
I need feedback from you, my pet-loving readers. I need ideas. I need input. I want to go to Wednesday's meeting armed! For the sake of pets. Please reply via Comments. All will be appreciated greatly. And I will attempt to reply to all. And I WILL let you know what comes of Wednesdays' meeting--via Diary. A heads-up-early-thanks--to all.