I, myself, would never leave a pet behind to evacuate myself. My dog trusts me with her life. She worships me as her master. Her life is precious, and I would rather spend a night in a blanket huddled under an overpass in hurricane force winds with her than seek shelter two hundred miles away while I leave her behind to a fate that I could prevent. Our dogs are devoted to us, giving us total and unconditional love simply because they are ours. They would lay down their lives for us, without hesitation, and without regret. We owe it to them, to ourselves, and to the God who gave man such a wondrous partner, to be a worthy steward of that fidelity.
Many pet owners feel the same. That devotion is one of the prime reasons many people did not evacuate before Katrina. The shameful remains of the animals left behind tethered in their own feces, dead and riddled with maggots, putrid from the oppressive heat in post-Katrina New Orleans still haunt me. I can not help but think they must have died confused, wondering how and why their master could do such a thing. The dogs standing on porches, jumping into black water and swimming to boats to regain human contact and support still bring a lump to my throat.
In times of great stress, the gentle nudge of a canine friend can bring solace that can come from no other place. One mass shelter in our area provided for pets. At least one refused them. I am not some PETA radical, I am simply a human who will repay the love and devotion given freely to me simply because I am a friend.