New Orleans Log

October 15th through December 5th, 2005
Written by Mary D. Jarman Karr
Last added to on 05/08/2023

Daily Routine was the start of my journey to a state I have never been to. I had no idea what to expect and the news didn't help. It was being reported to the rest of the world at that time that there was a lot of looting going on and that it was not safe there. But I went anyway.

Why did I go? Well, my eldest daughter wanted to go down to help in the pet rescue. She tried to get some friends together to go to the place in Gonzales, LA. But by the time she got answers from everyone, the place in Gonzales was going to be closing its doors. Now what you say? Well, she wasn't going to give up and contacted some people and found out about an organization called Muttshack. They had set up their rescue efforts out of a local private school, Lake Castle School, off Hayne Blvd and Crowder. This was in East New Orleans and right next to the levy. That in itself was scary, but then we heard that the National Guard was situated right next door and this levy was secure. But by this time, the friends that had said they could go, could no longer and that meant she would be going alone. I had some vacation time and to be quite honest, I needed to get away from my current full time job. But that is another story all in itself. So she and I booked airfare and went down on a red-eye flight to arrive at Muttshack by mid-morning from the Baton Rouge airport.

We got there and were checked in as volunteers. We signed all kinds of forms. Then we were given a tour. There was an office, two vet clinic areas, the school's building that was its gymnasium housed the rescued dogs and an under covered area with wind breaking material about the bottom was where they housed the cats. The weather was humid and hot. I had brought 7 changes of clothes to which later I was grateful I had. But, none of them were for the kind of hot weather that they were having.

Tents were where most of the volunteers slept or in their cars. I had rented a mini-van for the purpose of sleeping in it. Fortunately the seats folded all the way to the floor and we used mats and sleeping bags, which didn't make for too bad a bed. I ended up using my duffel bag under my knees to help my back deal with the change and I slept like a baby. But I guess I snore since that is what my daughter says. Must come from living with my hubby for 20 years and we have come to be alike in more ways than I thought. But then, my daughter snored too.

The first day we got there, they were expecting a big shipment of animals to leave with a group called the Central Dakota Humane Society. I mean, it was huge. We chose to help out in the cattery which was very much welcomed. We later came to learn that help there was very little as most people wanted to walk dogs. So our help was prized. I learned quickly about how to transfer cats from one cage to another the hard way. My predecessor, Sue, would use bite proof gloves and reach in the cage to grab the cat. Naturally, many of them did not wish to be grabbed and hissed, spit and climbed everywhere in their air kennels. I still can't believe that she did not get bit more than she did (once I think).

Once all the animals were packed up, they pulled out around 11pm. So, yes, you guessed it - we had been up almost two days straight. What a way to start working for a place in which we knew already the days would be long and hard. Next time - no red-eye flights.

The next days started at 7am and ended somewhere around 9pm, if we were lucky. Sue was training a vet tech to take her place so she could go home. She was already extending her stay there longer than she had planned. This seemed to be a common occurrence of many of the volunteers. They just couldn't go home. The mornings were spent first to feed the cats and then to totally clean their cages. They were fed first since there was a 8am meeting of everyone in the next pavilion and the cats always made a lot of noise if they hadn't been fed. Once the meeting was over, it was then time to change the cages and by then, they were calmer as they were no longer hungry. The feeding took anywhere from 15 minutes with enough help to 45 minutes with just one person. The cleaning of the cages took from 2 hours with help up to 6 hours on your own, which was quite often.

Now you would think cleaning cages wouldn't be so difficult. But you have to realize that when many of these cats come in, they are scared to death. Many of them have been on the streets fending for themselves and learned not to trust anyone. Also, many of the cats caught were feral. These are cats that were most likely born outside and have had no human contact at all. So when you put your hand into some of these cages, you were risking a bite or scratch or both. They also look for a chance to escape every moment the cage door is open. And, since they are so scared, their cages are usually a wreck every morning until they calm down and start to get used to their surroundings.


The Barge (as told to me by some of the National Guard)
Most people know about the barge that broke a levy in New Orleans in the 9th Ward. But most people do not know the story of a gentleman and his dog that escaped mortal danger. A man was home with his dog and his neighbors were also home when Katrina hit. They rode out most of the storm ok, but then there was a loud noise. He looked out his window in time to see a wall of water and a barge coming in his direction. He broke an upstairs window and got out into the water and swam to his neighbor's home. His dog followed him. His neighbors in the meantime were trying to get away from the water in their home and had been in the attic and were breaking through the roof to get away from the rising water. The man and his dog somehow got to his neighbors house and got to safety just in time to see the barge float into his home where it came to a stop. Later with Rita the water came in and the barge floated away from his home, what was left of it.

Pugsly, the Amazing Pug
Who is Pugsly? Well, as you guessed it, he is a pug dog. But when he first came to us, he was the most skinniest dog I had ever seen. It was touch and go when he arrived and the vets weren't sure if he would make it. But make it he did.
Puglsy was well loved by his owners. So much so that he was reported by them to have weighed 19 pounds before Katrina hit. This may have been what saved his little life.
The owners left him behind because they couldn't take him with them. They were told, as everyone there by the governor, to leave food for their pets, enough for 3 days and that they would surely be back by then.
No one had any idea of the devastation that would occur and the inability of everyone to return to their homes within that time frame. Many still have yet to return or be allowed to return to their homes.
Pugsly was one of the unfortunates that remained in the home for 6 weeks, alone. And the location of where he was found was unbelievable.
As the waters rose after the levy broke, animals swam to safety. In Pugsly's case, safety for him was the top of the refrigerator. This was the only place that he had footing and was mostly out of the water. But as the waters receded, Pugsly didn't go down with them. He remained on the fridge for the entire 6 weeks. We are not sure what he ate or what liquid he had. We know that he ate part of the wall and most likely the mold that was growing. But what else, we have no idea.
The neighbor was able to return and the owners asked him to check in on their home. They pretty much already assumed that Pugsly has perished. He was such a small dog. But when the neighbor checked, he saw Pugsly or heard him. This neighbor called for help and Muttshack rescuers came. They couldn't believe their eyes, but there this little Pug was in the top of the fridge, weak yet still able to be happy at seeing people.
He was brought back to Muttshack and given the once over. Immediately he was given Sub-Q fluids. I do not know all the particulars, but he was introduced to food ever so slowly and in such small portions. They wanted to make sure they didn't shock his system that was not used to eating foods for so long. Then he developed diarrhea and they had to combat that with him too. He was faced with a long road to recovery.
In the meantime, the owner was contacted and told that Pugsly was still alive. They were so happy and yet couldn't believe that he was still alive. They wanted him back for sure, but their own existence was up in the air. They later ended up in California living in a Hotel that didn't take pets. They also were not in a position to provide the medical care he was going to need at that point in time. So, Muttshack offered to hold him and give him the care he needed for the time they needed to get back on their feet or when they would be able to care for him and house him.
This was fine until November 30th came around. This was the day that the school decided Muttshack needed to be out of the school. They needed to rebuild the school and get it ready to reopen on the 3rd of January. Fortunately for them, Muttshack had cleaned up most of the property so the major cleaning would only be half of the school and then painting, etc. would be left. But this meant that the dogs and cats would have to leave the premises ASAP. Jim, who is a dog behavior specialist took Pugsly with him on his trip to Florida with a set of dogs from a location he had been after he left Muttshack earlier. He arranged for most of the remainder of the dogs leave for Florida on the 30th. But by then, Pugsly was already in Florida getting settled in his new temporary home until his family will be ready to be reunited with him.

The Shepherd rescued 72 days after Katrina who had been locked in a house and then tossed on a garbage pile to die

A neighbor called and said there was a dog locked in a house and that the owners had come and gone for good now leaving the dog behind. When the Muttshack rescue team got there, they almost cried. The shape this dog was in was not good. It was so emaciated many thought it would not survive the night. But survive he did and the next day was walking around in front of the clinic. It seemed to only take to the vet so she was the only one who could walk and feed him at first. Of course his meals had to be VERY small and spread out through the day to enable his system to accept the food and to be able to get the nutrients out of it since it had not had regular food in a long time. Everyone thought the vet would take him home with her, but she kept saying she couldn't. Then the day before she was to leave us, I saw her name taped to the kennel next to the shepherd. He was going home with her after all. I do not know what his status is now, but I hope that he has found a loving home with someone, if it wasn't to end up being with the vet.
The Sharpei Story
Lucy, our fabulous rescuer, was out responding to a call on a dog in a neighborhood. But when they got there, they could not locate the dog in question. Instead, they found a Sharpei. They brought him back to camp. He was so lethargic that he had to be dragged from his kennel to go to the bathroom and he hardly ate. The vet couldn't see anything wrong with him, so the decision was that he was very depressed.

In the meantime, someone contacted Lucy about a reward sign they had seen posted around about a missing Sharpei. Lucy called and the gentleman came. I happened to be in the office when he arrived and was describing markings on the dog. I was instructed to go and see if this dog had these markings. When I got to the clinic I couldn't get the dog out of the kennel. The vet came in at that time and I asked him if this dog had any particular markings that would make him unique. He told me three of them and they all matched the owner's description. I went back excitedly to the office and nodded my head to Amanda. She then told the gentleman that we would take him to the dog in the clinic. But she did not want him to go directly to the dog. Instead she wanted him to walk down the main aisle and just talk with her. I was to watch the reaction of the dog and see if it recognized this man's voice.

We got to the clinic and Lucy, Amanda and I went in first. Lucy and I got into place near the dog and then Amanda went down the aisle. She signaled for the man to come in and start down the aisle towards her. He did. No sooner than he started to talk did this lethargic, sad dog sit up and take notice. The more this man talked, the more life we saw spring back into this dog's eyes. This dog was sooo excited that it tried to stand up in this short cage and started to bark. The man heard him and turned towards the dog with tears in his eyes. When I saw that, the tears that I had so carefully held back sprang through. Lucy saw my tears and then she lost it too. I let out the dog and he ran to his owner and licked him as much as he could. The owner's face was wet from his own tears as well as the loving licks of his beloved friend that had been lost. She later told me that I made her cry by me crying. I told her I couldn't help it. This was a good thing that we all needed to see.

Now after that reunion, I got to hear the rest of the story. It seems this dog had been stolen from this man back in April of 2005. He had placed ads everywhere for him but never found him. He thought he would never see his friend again. Then after Katrina, something made him post the reward signs all over again in the hope of someone finding him and turning him into a local shelter. Well, that worked and now he has been united with this no-so-furry guy that obviously missed him so very deeply.

A Woman Needing Closure
A woman came into the Muttshack area and was asking if anyone would be willing to help her. She was missing her 5 cats and no one seemed to be willing to help her. She had been to several other rescue organizations and no one would make the trip to her home. Sandra and Mary were there to hear her plea. We had been cooped up in the camp site for a while and needed a road trip. So Sandra grabbed her husband Scott and they followed this woman and Mary in their car.

She told Mary on her way that her house is a little two story job. She worried about her cats but were told by the authorities that the longest people would be away from their pets was three days. So she put enough food and water out for them in the top floor of the home. She made sure they were all inside. One of the cats was having a hard time staying in. He wanted out so bad which was not usual for him. She told him she would be back for him. He sat there with his eyes pleading for her to let him out, but she closed the door with a heavy heart and left them there.

When she was finally able to return to her home - over a month later she was not sure what she would find but she felt it wouldn't be good. When she pulled up to her home she just stared at it. This two story home, brick bottomed and wood topped was on its side. The bottom floor was almost gone. The water must have gotten into the home and exploded the bricks outward from the inside. The front door was gone and there were no windows in which to enter except on the very top which was facing the sky. There was no way for her to get in without some serious help. She was then afraid that there was no way for her cats to get out to get food and water after the three days.

We pulled in and immediately understood what we were seeing. This was not going to be good. Sandra and Scott decided they would be the ones to try and get into the home. Mary started by calling their names around the block and found two people and asked if they had seen any cats. They told me they hadn't seen any life at all - not even insects. That was the first time Mary had realized what had been bothering her. No life at all had returned yet. She told them they were important to this woman. In the discussion, Mary learned that one of the men that she was talking to had lost his mother to the flood. This made her feel really bad. She asked if there was anything she could do to help him. He was so upset. He was told he wouldn't even be able to bury her in New Orleans as no one was allowed to dig in the soil.

So if we found her cats - and they were dead - what would she do with them?

Back at the house Sandra and Scott had finally gotten inside. It didn't smell good right away. This was not a good sign. They found three cats inside. As they were recovered, Mary had the woman try to identify them and then Mary wrapped them in plastic bags and labeled them with their names. From what they could tell, they had died during the hurricane. Mary found another outside under the house. How it got outside, we all didn't know. There must have been an opening just big enough for them to get out of under the bricks. But it looked like it died pretty soon after it got out. So that left the last one. The one that was left was a small little girl cat and the owner was certain that this little one who frail would not have survived either.

She cried and we walked away to give her privacy. Then she came to us and Mary told her she would ride back with Sandra. The woman said that she would drive me back, that wasn't a problem. She would be glad to do it.

On the way back she thanked Mary and our organization for helping her. She would have wanted them to be alive, but finding them also gave her closure. She had decided that she would not move on with her life until she knew what happened to her family. We helped her find out when no one else would.

Once back at the compound, she again thanked us. She pulled out from a deck of cards she had a St. Francis of Assisi card. They were religious cards and this one was very pretty. She gave it to Mary and told her she hoped St. Francis would watch and protect all the volunteers here. She also apologized that she hadn't gotten to the bank as she started looking through her wallet. She pulled out $50 and gave it to Mary to get supplies or whatever else Muttshack needed. Mary tried to tell her that she would need it and she should keep it. But the woman was so thankful for what we had done for her that she wanted us to have it. It was the least she could do for us after the peace of mind we had given her.

Mary took the card and the donation and Thanked and hugged the woman. She got out and watched the woman drive away knowing that now she could move on to her sister's home and start over.

Mary found Amanda St. John, one of the heads of Muttshack, and gave her the card telling her the story. As Mary told the story, Amanda's eyes and some of the other volunteers listening to the story started to well up with tears. Then Mary gave Amanda the money. Amanda had said the same thing in that the woman should have kept it as she would need it. Mary told Amanda that she tried to tell her that, but it made the woman feel better for us to take it. So Amanda did. It went for gas to run the generators to provide light to the Dog and Cat clinics.

We all hope this woman is doing fine. But it brought home to us all the tragedy many people faced after Katrina.

Reunion of a Woman and Her Two Cats
This is a short story as this happened shortly after I arrived at Muttshack.

There was a woman who had heard through another shelter that we had a cat that might possibly be her cat. She told us the description and we knew we had one that matched this cat.

In this cage with this cat, there was another one that had been caught with it. It seems they hung around together and we were afraid that one of them may find their owner and not the other one.

This woman was escorted back to this cage and as soon as she saw the cats in the cage, she yelled out a name. But it was not the name of the cat she asked us about. It was the other cat. It seems that we had found two of her cats. She had thought for sure that the other cat we had would have drowned. But she was sooo happy that both of them were safe. So happy, that she couldn't leave their side and had her husband do the paperwork while she petted and loved them the whole time telling us all what she went through searching for them.

The Trip to Washington State with 63 Feral Cats and Two Puppies

Ferals – From Nola to Forks
November 2005 – December 2005

Katrina Feral Cats to Washington PDF file

The Threat of a Gang
Dog fighting in the New Orleans area is a pretty big thing, as much as people don't want you to know about it. One of the things we had been told by the police and the National Guard and other rescue groups was to watch for gangs or people coming to say some of the cats and dogs were theirs when they weren't. Many were looking for fighting dogs and many more were looking for bait for these dog fights.

One evening when Lucy, Karen and Mary were alone at the compound a car drove in. It was late and this was odd to have someone come looking for their pet this late. Lucy was immediately on the defensive and told Mary and Karen to be careful. John came back from dinner right behind them. But Lucy had reached them first and told them to come back in the morning when there was more light in the dog area. As Lucy walked away, she still felt very nervous. John approached them and then started to take them towards the dog area. Lucy was livid. We had not protection against these people. Lucy sent Karen to the local police station to get help. She sent Mary into the dog area with an erroneous errand to just make a presence so these guys wouldn't try anything with John. Mary stayed in there and watched them. They were looking at each dog - like shopping for a dog, not looking for their dog. As they passed Mary she saw the gang symbol on the necklaces they both wore.

John was on the way out with them when a police car pulled in. Just that fast, these two guys were in their car and on their way. The police asked what they wanted and we told them everything. They said there had been robberies too in this area and the people had been badly beaten and left for dead. Great. Since the National Guard had pulled out from across the street from us, we were defenseless. The police knew this and put a car outside our dog kennel on the street side all night. They also gave the order that every night a patrol car would come and sit there.

As the other volunteers returned we told them what happened. This made all of us a little jumpy but from that point on, we never left less than 5 people at the compound at any time.

My First Look at the 9th WardComing

My Cat Bites and the Military and Boxing?
There was a kitten that had escaped from one of the cages and was running around the cattery. I went to the front to help keep it from getting through the front door curtain. I had not gotten gloves but had grabbed a towel. It so happened that this little one decided, after running all around the cattery for about 5 minutes that it would try to get passed me. It was very scared by this time. So scared that when I caught him, he managed to wiggle out of the towel and bit my right hand right in the knuckle of my index finger and hand. Then, since I hadn't let go yet, it turned and bit the other hand in the same place. One of the other volunteers had grabbed gloves and came up behind me and took a hold of the kitten and got it back into its cage.

Later, after I had the wound cleaned, I was told that the National Guard's doctor had been concerned about a resistant type of bacteria, especially in cat bites and that all bites should be inspected by him. So I was walked over there and he took over. He cleaned them the best he could, but he was very concerned about them because of their locations. He wrapped my hands in "yards" of gauze. I was wondering how I was supposed to be working with all this gauze. But he seemed to be very proud of his work, so I didn't say anything bad. But he was genuinely concerned. He sent me back to camp with my fists full of gauze.

When I got there, many of the workers were right there, so I put up my fists as if to be in a boxing match since that is what I felt like I was ready for with all that wrapping. Everyone started to laugh with me. Then Sue looked at me and shook her said and said, "uh, uh. That has to go. Come with me." So we went into one of the clinics where she got out the cleaning stuff and other wrapping stuff and re-did them so I could work. As soon as we were done and came back out, the medic was there. He looked disappointed as he saw my hands and said, "You didn't like my bandages?" Then he said that he was really concerned at the location and the depth of the bites and wanted me to go to the field hospital in St. Bernard's Parish. Sue gave me the directions and I drove there by myself. There was a guard checkpoint at the entrance to the parish. I told them where I needed to go and showed my hands. I didn't even have to show him my badge before he waved me on after telling me where to turn.

After checking in, the medic on duty came over to me. He wasn't happy that I had been bitten, let alone twice by the same cat. He was glad that we still had the cat and reminded me that this cat had to be kept quarantined for 10 days to make sure there weren't signs of rabies. Since the incident of rabies was so low, he wasn't going to recommend that I get shots yet. But if the cat showed any signs at all, to let them know.

After he removed the bandages, he was very upset. He did not like the wounds at all. He cleaned them really well and told me that they would swell up a lot and get very sore. They would be more sore and swell up more than a normal bite since this cat had the smarts to bite me in the ligaments. He then prescribed two antibiotics for me. He left me to go get them, but when he returned he had decided that he wanted to run an IV with some more potent antibiotic in it and also give me it in tablet form to add to the other two. So I had to wait there, laying down, while the IV dripped slowly. The guy that also put in the IV didn't do a great job and I bled all over my pants and the floor. Great, I didn't have that many jeans with me since I was only supposed to be there a week.

Once the IV finished, the medic came back to make sure I understood that if the bites weren't any better by morning, I was to come back immediately. He also told me that I couldn't work in the cattery any more. I thanked him and left for the camp. But that didn't sit in my brain very well as that was where I was as soon as I got back. It was hard to work with the bandages, but I kept rubber gloves on to keep the bandages dry. I changed them twice a day and took my meds religiously. Surprisingly, I never got an upset stomach from them as I normally do with meds of that strength.

After two days, I returned for a recheck. They had swelled immensely and the Medic did not like that at all. He put me on another round of IV antibiotic. This time I asked for a blanket as I was next to the AC duct again and didn't want to shiver all the way though the IV drip. They brought me one thankfully, so I was more comfortable this time. Oh, and this time, I had to tell him I had been bit again by a kitten that had gotten away. We later caught it, but at the time, we didn't have it. He asked me about its health and I told him that this was a very good looking kitten who had a great appetite and drank water well. He asked me about the original kitten and I told him that he was calming down again and trusting me more. He was just scared being chased all around the cattery when he was loose. The medic looked at me directly in my eyes and told me I was done now, for sure in the cattery. He did not want to see another bite on me. He was afraid that it would weaken my immune system enough that I wouldn't be able to fight off anything one of these cats may have had. I told him that I would help elsewhere, but of course, didn't.

Those were the only two cats that bit me the entire time I was there and they both were in the first week I was there. Once I got used to the routine and also improved on the transferring of the cats to their travel cages, no one was bit, except one. But she ended up taking that little guy home with her.

It took a while, but the bites healed. The one on my right hand is completely healed. But I find that even now, if I use my left hand for heavy work, the joint that was bit starts to ache really bad, almost crippling, and I have to stop whatever it was I was doing. Maybe over time, this will improve. I hope so. Would I have changed anything I did down there - yep - I would have remembered to grab those DARN gloves! :-)

The Police Tell Lucy of a "Fierce" Dog Needing Capturing
Lucy is a rescuer who is very knowledgeable about dogs and most importantly, vicious dogs. She was well known to the local police and the National Guard as the one to call for stray dogs.
One night when most of the people at the compound were out getting food and showers at a FEMA facility there remained only two people - myself and Lucy. A police car slowly pulled up to us and one of the officers got out and seemed agitated. He proceeded to explain that there was a vicious dog on the loose and tey were afraid to try and catch it. He asked Lucy if she could come and try to catch it. Of course Lucy would help. She started to tell me all the things she needed in the truck and then talked to me telling me what to do when we got there.

Finally the police car stopped and one of the officers got out and pointed to a dog standing in the road. Lucy yelled for him to get back in the car and she would handle it. She got out of the truck and turned to get the catch pole from me telling me again to stay in the car until she got the dog. All of a sudden the dog was standing up behind her with his paws on her shoulders licking her ears. That's when we heard the police officers laughing so hard I thought they would burst. Lucy turned around and the dog proceeded to bathe her face as she yelled out - Very funny boys.

It turned out this dog was an excellent escape artist from its home. It knew which window upstairs it could open and get onto the roof and then down to the ground. But it just wasn't safe right now for the dog to be loose. Lucy agreed and we took him back to the compound in the truck and he enjoyed cleaning my face.

Later on the owner showed up and apologized for any inconvenience his dog caused us. He said he has tried many things to keep him inside but he always seems to find a way. We mentioned the upper window which the officers told us about and the man said he would check that. We did not see this dog loose again.

The Alligator
Ok - we were rescuing Cats and Dogs. But there were also lizards, tropical fish and other pets people had to leave behind. But they were not the only victims in this Hurricane. A pair of National Guardsmen came to our compound and asked if we knew anything about alligators. We immediately got the vet who was there at the time and she asked first how big it was. Fortunately, the soldier only held his hands about 2 feet apart. It was a baby he said. A guy had found it on the road away from any water and didn't know what to do with it. It was this guy that had used electrical tape to tape its mouth shut. But in doing that, the alligator couldn't eat or drink. By the time he found the National Guardsmen to give it to and when it finally got to us, it was very dehydrated. Yes, bring it in and they would look at it.

So first things first - they had to get the tape off the mouth. Easier said than done. But the soldier who first asked about it was also the one that helped the vet in the removal of the tape. She had to use scissors to gently cut away the tape from the mouth and in such a way that she could remove it quickly before it realized its mouth was free to bite. They worked well together and successfully got it off. While they were doing this the discussion came up about what they eat. Mary said raw hamburger or any kind of raw meat. But where to get that now with most people gone from the area still. Mary had her computer and jumped online with her air card internet connection to verify that and found a place in Florida and called them. Sure enough - meat - any kind, preferably raw as it may not even eat cooked meat. They told her what vitamins they needed and that this little guy was young.

A sheriff came to get some supplies while all the excitement was going on. After the National Guardsmen left he went and talked with the vet. It seemed that right now was the time that all alligators were finding their place of hibernation and if this little guy didn't find it soon and we tried to release it, it would die of exposure. The vet decided that the next day the sheriff could take it to the everglades area where he knew housed many alligators and where he knew this little one could find a good hibernation spot.

After they came back, he told us that when they released it, it had turned around and started to run after them! But they were faster so this little guy wasn't as weak as we thought it was.

The Owl Rescue

An owl was brought to us. It had been electrocuted. It was used to sitting on the powerless power lines and as the power company was finally restoring power to the area, this owl landed on what it thought was a safe perch only to be shocked and fell to the ground. The workers ran to it, picked it up and kept it warm and brought it to Muttshack. Lucy, being a vet tech and from Alaska, knew more about what to do for this big guy. By the next day, the owl was alert and ready to be released.

There is a video of it being released on the video page under the Katrina section.

Personalities of Some of the Cats, Charger in Particular

When Mary first arrived at the compound, Sally was in charge of the cattery. Mary had wanted to just come and do whatever needed to be done. But Mary has a way with animals and took care of the feral cats one morning when she wasn't supposed to and lived to tell about it. Sally was so impressed that she felt she had found her replacement and could finally leave the cattery in good hands and go home. So Mary accepted the position.

With people's pets that were rescued there were feral cats that were also caught. These are cats that no nothing of human contact and would just as soon as scratch your eyes out than have you help it. But this was also a very scary thing that happened to all the cats and dogs. And once a cat has been frightened like they all must have been, it takes a long time for them to trust anything. So many cats that we thought were feral were really just very frightened pets. This was not Mary's job too. She was to watch the new cat arrivals to see if they settled down. If they did, they were removed from the feral rows and placed in with the other cats so they would have a chance to get out of there and go to other shelters where they could be taken care of better. We were the first line of rescue and not a place where they could stay. We had to make room for more rescues.

Well, one cage was very curious. There were notes all over the cage like, "Do not touch this cat!" and "Stay away from this cat." Sally told Mary that she or Mary were to be the only people to take care of this cat. When the door was opened to put in the food and clean the litter box this cat would lunge at you hissing and spitting and ready to strike. Yet it had come in with a very lovely and friendly Black and White longhaired girl. Neither would eat without seeing the other. But when some cats were being sent to another shelter, Sally made the decision to send the girl. We were all afraid that this orange and white cat would stop eating again. And he did, for a little while. But Mary worked with him after Sally left and she got him to eat. He was on the small side for a male and still charged her whenever she opened the door to his cage. One day she decided enough was enough and made a charging movement back at him. At that point he jumped backwards with wide eyes. Mary felt bad for scaring him, but that helped their interaction. It was at that point she decided to call him Charger.

By the end of the 2nd month of Mary's stay it was time to close the compound down. The school who had graciously let us use their facility now wanted it back to start rebuilding. We had 65 possible cats left and 30 of them were feral. The orange and what was classified as feral. But Mary wasn't convinced. Neither were the last two helpers in the cattery. They had each come to Mary separately and spoke about their feelings that Charger was not feral, but very very scared.

Mary left with all the cats and Sandra following a climate controlled Semi to Washington state where these cats would find shelter and rehabilitation. But once they got there, Sandra and Mary revised the cats Mary was going to take with her. Yes, Charger was now going with Mary.

It took a while after they got to her home, but now Charger is a wonderful cat. He is loving and clumsy. He is one very lucky feline to have people see through his "tough act".

A Sheriff's Dept. Worker Who Became a Volunteer

There was a mobile home with about 20 or so cats all around it. One of the volunteers at the compound realized that the time to find stray cats was at night. So he took his truck out at night and was hunting for stray cats. He saw this mobile home. He tried knocking, but no one answered. He caught one of the cats and returned to the compound at 4am waking up Mary. She checked in this cat and Bill talked her into going back to the trailer.

When they got there, there was a light on inside. Bill's truck had a megaphone. He was an ex-sheriff. He called out to whoever was inside that they should come outside. He sounded so official. At 5am, this was also a little embarrassing. A gentleman, obviously woken up by Bill, poked his head out the door. He was very polite with Bill and said that he needed to get some pants on before coming out.

Once outside he told us that he had been appointed by his neighbors as the caretaker to all their cats. But that others had come to the trailer or for food. Bill was still suspicious and told the guy to come by the compound if he wanted the cat Bill had already caught. If he was telling the truth, then he would come. If not, Bill would get the cops back out there to bring him in and get as many of those cats caught as we could.

Two days later this gentleman showed up. Mary was called up to the office to verify this man's story about which cat was his. It turns out he works for a local sheriff and didn't have time off enough the day before to come get the cat. Mary told Amanda the story and Amanda let the man take it - but not without getting all his contact information and office number first.

The next day he came with some officers. The officers were there to get some dog food for their dogs. There were no stores open yet and these guys couldn't get away to drive far enough to where some stores were open. The man that we harassed at 4 and 5am in the morning became a very active volunteer with the dogs. The department he worked for even made Thanksgiving dinner for our volunteers. Thank you wherever you are!

Mom Dog with 10 Pups and a Min Pin is the Dad

There was a report of a large, very pregnant dog and a smaller dog running though a neighborhood that needed to be caught before this dog delivered. Muttshack volunteers worked hard to get them. They first caught the smaller dog. He was a male min pin and was very sweet. But in the vet area where he was being held for evaluation he became severely depressed. Then it dawned on us that he must be the dad to the puppies the other dog was carrying. The next day they were able to catch to girl and brought her in. I happened to be in the area when she came in and the instant the male saw her he was exstatic. He wiggled and whined and was just soooooo happy. They put them together in the same extra large cage and he cleaned her and snuggled with her. We all thought it was sweet and hysterical. Why hysterical? Because she was a great dane or at least part one and very big. She was also very close to delivering and she did start the next day. When the delivery started the male got very nervous. We moved him back to the cage he was originally in as he was annoying the girl dog with his pacing.

The puppies started to come. One by one. And if we had any doubt at all that the min pin was not the father that doubt was completely blown away by the first pup with the very distinctive looks of a min pin. Many of us just could not picture how they succeeded in making these babies, but they sure did it. I can't remember the exact count of the puppies but it was something like 13. I have always wondered what they looked like fully grown.

If I have misstated anything in the above stories, please let me know so that I may correct the facts. Much of what I said above is from my point of view.