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Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Remembering Katrina's Lost Critters

As we approach the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina on Friday, there will be many restrospectives in the media. I expect most will focus on what happened to the human casualties of the storm and the vast remaining property devastation.

But no animal lover can forget the heartbreaking stories of stranded pets - starving, forlorn and frightened - crying from attics, porches, even floating cars.

The Utah-based Best Friends Animal Society sent in a team of rescuers, who ultimately helped save some 4,000 pets.

Now that effort has been chronicled in a book that's sure to bring a tear or two. It's called Not Left Behind; Rescuing the Pets of New Orleans. Troy Snow, a Best Friends photographer, has put together a 96-page book with eerily beautiful color images of the flooded city, the animals that were trapped in it, and the volunteers determined to save their lives.

Here's a passage about a dog named Goldie, who looks something like a tan samoyed.

"She was just lying there, completely listless," said Ethan Gurney. "She was badly dehydrated and suffereing from the heat, and she seemed sick, perhaps from drinking dirty water."

The photos show her staring apprehensively but allowing herself to be picked up and carried to safety.

For Goldie, there was a happy ending. She was taken to the Best Friends Sanctuary in Utah, then adopted by a Maryland couple with four other dogs on a 10-acre property.

The book costs $19.95, with all proceeds going to support Best Friends. Go to bestfriends.org to order it.