A Nurse with a Gun

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Pet Evacuations

It is no secret that I am not a fan of the Red Cross. It is also not a secret that I am an advocate for firearms, self determination and individualism. I am also a bonafide dog lover. During the evacuation preceding hurricane Gustav's landfall in South Louisiana, evacuees were supposed to be able to bring their pets with them. Thus, when I saw this sign posted yet again in a Red Cross shelter during the Gustav evacuation, I was compelled to photograph it, lest it be later denied.

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.



Blogger Owen said...

to betray that level of unconditional love is disgusting. Never ever will I leave my animals behind.

12:17 PM  
Blogger Owen said...

This little report makes my heart a little lighter.

12:36 PM  
Anonymous Indy5000 said...

The ladies that built and opened our new doggie hotel specifically designed it to quickly accomodate double their normal capacity in the case of evacuees coming to town. I spoke to them earlier this week and they took in 30 dogs at reduced rates for people that could not keep there dogs at hotels or shelters. We are outside San Antonio. If you evacuate with your pets make sure your pet's immunization records, as well as your own, are part of your kit.

3:14 PM  
Blogger red said...

I agree 100%. Our GSD is our 70lb furry kid. She does her job of keeping us safe and being our companion. So we do ours and keep her healthy and safe.

3:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The thought of looking into my dog eyes as I am wisked to safty would kill me. We both go, or we both stay.

4:28 PM  
Anonymous Friedcheese said...

Makes me feel sick to see that sign. And very angry. Most of all our children are the 4 leg type and one young daughter.
I would not leave any behind for any reason, I will never understand anyone who could.

Your a good guy Xavier.

6:24 PM  
OpenID tomcatshanger said...

Shouldn't that last part say

7:05 PM  
Blogger DouginSalcha said...


Was listening to the radio the other morning and they reported on a 90-something year old man who refused to evacuate New Orleans because of his dog. The dog was the only 'family' he had left and simply refused to leave the dog behind.

My wife and I adopted a puppy back in July and I'm beginning to understand this much more clearly. I don't think I would go if I had to leave my dog behind either...

7:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Come well heeled to seperate me from my lab Ty. He is daddy's boy, my best friend, my constant companion. NOTHING and NO ONE could make me leave him in harms way.

7:36 PM  
Blogger Will said...

I'm not any kind of ARC policy expert, but after Katrina I was told that all of us disaster volunteers ought to do the FEMA home study module on animals in disaster, and that the rules had changed.
Then again, there was series of mobile vs fixed feeding specialty jokes to the effect that an MF'r was better than an FF'r because they didn't have to kick the dog out of the room before they did it to you...

10:57 PM  
Anonymous Corinne said...

*Applause* Wandered over from a forum that appreciated your words and wanted to say I feel exactly the same way. My pets are my children and I would NEVER leave them behind! Thank you for taking responsibility for all members of your family, everyone should do the same.

11:48 PM  
Anonymous Joseph said...

I truly agree with you on this. My little two year old chihuahua provides me endless amusment and unconditional affection. She trusts me with her life, and to provide for her. That is a trust I won't lay down. Were I to have to evacuate she would either go with me, or I don't go.

5:31 AM  
Blogger phlegmfatale said...

I would NEVER leave my pet behind, even under pain of death. She's my responsibility, she's my baby, and she trusts me. I must be worthy of that. Red Cross should make some sort of pet accommadations available-- a huge collection of kennel cabs, at the very least. OR, Kennels - they fold flat and can be used again and again. I don't see why this is so difficult for them to figure out. And we, the American people, are paying Red Cross to maintain the well-being of people in desperate moments. I'll have NO well-being if my pet is not with me. Period.

9:37 AM  
Blogger DJ aka Sierra's Mom said...

Great post. The picture says it all. While gov't on all levels says don't evacuate without your pets anymore, the truth hits the evacuees when they least need it. People were also turned away from evac buses because they didn't have carriers. Really, how many pet owners reading this actually have a carrier? And just how would one get a 75 lb. dog in a crate TO the bus, then INTO the bus?
Best Friends stepped in as they usually do and shipped in 3,000 carriers. And when a multi-billion dollar charity such as the Red Cross says No Pets, small individual rescues and Foundations (Saving Furry Friends and The Gage Foundation to name just two, along with numerous volunteers) also stepped up to the plate to take care of evacuee pets in tent cities or their own backyard.
It's time our government on all levels went back to being of the people, for the people, by the people. And their pets....

12:45 PM  
Blogger JJR said...

It is during disasters that concealed carry restrictions should be eased on the law-abiding...talk about a time when you need protection the most, i.e. forced outside of your home. Agree about the pets, too. I'm more of a cat person, but still, would not leave the family cat behind.

2:04 PM  
Blogger stbaguley said...

Nick says, "Yeah! I knew I liked him." But being a Golden Retriever puppy, Nick pretty much likes everybody. If he ever does meet Ilsa it would be alot like Zoe and Wash. Anyone who could leave their dog... I don't know. I lose the ability to empathize, too foreign. like blowing up children to make a point... just don't get it but troubled that there could be so much mental distance betwen people who all think they are being reasonable.

5:54 PM  
Blogger Lunatic Biker said...

Well written, sir. I couldn't leave them behind under any circumstances.

7:48 PM  
Blogger WheelDancer said...

The Red Cross doesn't seem to understand the difference between pints of blood that can be schlepped around however they see fit and people who are so much more than just another biological vessel carrying blood. We are social in nature, incomplete without our society which includes species other than our own. I can no more leave my pets behind than I can my feet even if someone finds them offensive.

10:31 AM  
Blogger #706 said...

a dog is definitely not meant to be left behind... i once left a cat behind when i evacuated due to 2 am fire in my building in chicago... he survived and lived to burrow under a mattress at a red cross subsidized motel stay 4 hours later... fred never forgave me.

10:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're welcome to your opinion, but asking a rescue organization that is strapped for resources to give up those resources (space, fresh water, etc) for a pet when it might mean a human being goes without is unreasonable. If you can evacuate yourself, take your pet. If you are depending on another to evacuate you, then you are constrained the same way they are; their duty is to save human life, not pet life. If you choose to take on that responsibility, that is your choice. It was not what they signed up for, and they prioritize human life over that of other animals.

I'm a pet owner, and have owned many dogs I've loved very much. I would never prioritize their life over the life of another human being.

11:20 PM  

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