Monday, September 6, 2010

What Katrina Meant to USED DOGS

Today, September 6, 2010, was a peaceful, lovely and almost cool day. So very different from 5 years ago. No helicopters all over the sky like the Vietnam War. No shiny new stolen trucks cruising the streets at night full of kid with guns looting. They slowed down in front of my house one night, the dogs began to bark and I heard the kids step on the gas and disappear.

I started rescuing before the winds had died down all the way. So many fences came down and I saw everyone's dirty dog laundry. It was heartbreaking, but at the time there was no time to be sad. I was jumping fences and avoiding the live wires from downed power lines. I was assaulted by what I realize in hindsight were probably desperate drug addicts.

5 years ago I had been on my own for days. It was about this time that the army came with rifles. They told me I had to leave. There were dogs, mostly pit bulls, running ALL OVER the streets. I told the soldiers that I would handle the dogs. After conferring amongst themselves, they told me I could stay. Soon after, 3 awesome women from Nebraska found me and came bearing supplies. I had a lot of supplies. I was prepared, but wow was it nice to see them. I sent my first few loads of dogs out with them.

The Military started showing up at my house at the end of each day with a list of addresses where there were pets in need of food and water or rescue. As they did their house to house checks, it was obviously hard for them to see these pets and not be able to help. Often I saw soldiers with groups of dogs following them. They were not allowed to interact with the animals. They started bringing me water, ice and military rations.

USED DOGS' Katrina rescue #1
This guy spent the WHOLE storm on a chain with no shelter. No food or water.

There were many, many more. Hundreds upon hundreds.

USED DOGS' yard post storm:

With help from some great volunteers from Pennsylvania, we kept rescuing from dusk until dawn for around 35 days. More supplies arrived. I didn't stop until the animals I was finding were starting to all be dead.

My route continued to grow as I fed dogs in place that were safe in yards. For me this wasn't a time to judge. I knew some of these dogs had families that loved them, because I had driven past their houses for years.

I argued with a guy over local Jazz legend Clarence Frogman Henry's dog . This kid wanted to ship him off to Washington state. Frogman was in New York doing a fundraiser. He didn't realize there was a part of his fence loose and "Boomer" got out. Several firemen came to my assistance and helped me retain possession of the Great Dane. "Boomer had been injured. Dr. Gutter was around and he made a house call. Boomer and Mr Henry were very happily reunited.

But I am not writing this to dwell on the sorrow. I am writing this, hoping that in someway it will be part of the cathartic process that with time will help my heart to heal.

This dog I actually named. Most of the dogs that I sent thru LaMar Dixon had numbers. There were SO MANY. But this guy I named and he really stole my heart. I never found out what happened to him. I tried. I sent him off to Nebraska with some very fine people before before there was any "system" for the dogs to be processed thru. I so hope he found happiness and love in a home.

65% of all the dogs that were rescued out of Katrina were pit bull or pit bull mixes. 95% of all the dogs were NOT spay/neutered. Those statistics spelled out a part of my post storm mission. USED DOGS had the first Low to No cost Pit bull spay/neuter program available after the storm!


  1. Madalin,
    I cried as I read this. I hope that you will continue to share your experiences in Katrina and post-Katrina New Orleans. For those of us not there, is was something we watched on TV, and we were often moved, but it is the past, not our past. You lived it and I know that you continue to live it, in memory and in reality. It is hard for me to believe that you still have two dogs rescued from Katrina and not placed. And I know that you lost almost all of your volunteers and financial support after the hurricane. I hope that your blog will bring you the healing and the support structure that you need to continue to make a difference in animals' lives, both through rescue AND a low cost/no cost spay neuter program.
    God bless you and may you feel His hand on your shoulder when you walk through hard days.
    ~ Holly

  2. You have truly earned your place in heaven. Thank you for saving these dogs.

  3. Madalin!! It's Amy, one of the women from Nebraska! I was just looking at my youtube account and watched the Katrina video I made after our trip to NOLA. I thought I'd take a chance at googling you and...whaa-la! I hope you are doing well!! I'm back in Austin now and still rescuing dogs. I have an English Bulldog SNORING in a crate right now as I type. :-) Big hug to you!!