Tuesday, September 06, 2005

The return of fhb and Noah's Wish

Peggy and I are back from a great trip up to Nova Scotia... albeit a somewhat surreal voyage at times watching the news reports from New Orleans and the Gulf in the evening after a day cruising the beautiful N.S. coast.

I'll probably have more to say about that later as I catch up on blogging, and I'm sure my friends and the blogs I regularly read have already put out many calls for contributions for disaster relief. The Red Cross and Habitat for Humanity are two Peg and I will be contributing to, but I also want to mention a relief effort that won't get as much attention, due to the larger, human disaster.

At some point, and in some now-forgotten paper, I read an editorial by Roy Blount, Jr. where he wondered aloud about whether the good times will ever roll again in New Orleans, and this paragraph caught my eye...

"I keep wondering about the mules - the mules that pull tourists in carriages clip-clop over the French Quarter cobblestones and contribute the smell of fresh manure to the grand aromarama of olive salad, hot pastry, Tabasco, whiskey and fish - are the mules somewhere safe?"
... Peg and were transported by an ancient mule named "Shine" on our trip to New Orleans nearly 20 years ago, certainly long gone to a mule heaven by now where the carriages are weightless, and there's a hand with carrot or sugar cube at every corner, but I worry about the mules of today.

And I worry about the many pets there must be throughout the area, abandoned, lost, separated from the people who love and are loved by them. Katie Couric noted in her live report from New Orleans this morning - almost as an aside - that many of the remaining survivors who are refusing to leave are doing so because they won't leave their pets behind.

That would be me, and no, I don't want to argue about priorities or the value of human vs. animal life. Everyone has their own priorities, people should do what they think is right for themselves, but I know what my priorities are.

Many animals are on their own after most disasters, even in the U.S., which, as we've all discovered, itself can be as humbled by the forces of Nature as easily as any other country. "Noah's Wish" rescues and shelters animals in disasters throughout the United States and Canada. The link above is to their home page, and they also have a page set up here reporting exclusively on post-Katrina rescue efforts. Expect a slow load for either page, I suspect their servers are badly overloaded. They currently have a team of 75 volunteers on site in Slidell, LA, and their update yesterday noted they have rescued or captured over 259 400 animals, and are currently sheltering over 250.

If you're thinking of contributing to Katrina disaster relief, please think about diverting some money to Noah's Wish. As with almost all the disaster relief efforts, what they need most right now is money. You can make a contribution through PayPal from the link above. You can send a check to:

Noah's Wish

P.O. Box 997

Placerville, CA 95667

... and there are various other suggestions about how you can help here and here.

Thanks. Oh, and about the mules. That's something that an ex-Google researcher can't let lie. Not all are safe, but there is some good news.
"...After seeing the devastation left behind by Hurricane Katrina, Dicky Reece of Gallatin knew he had to call his friends at Mid-City Carriages in New Orleans and offer his help.

He spent Friday preparing to rescue 25 mules that had escaped to Houston before New Orleans was completely shut down...."

... and the horses mentioned in the article above are also safe.
Nineteen of the evacuees are horse and mule survivors from Mid-City Carriage's herd that were extracted yesterday (Sept. 4) from New Orleans by the company's owner, drivers, and grooms, said French this evening (Sept. 5). He said one man identified only as Lucian, braved the storm and stayed for nearly a week without food or water at the stables, refusing to leave the animals in his care. They all lived through the water rising and barn flooding.

Lucian told French the story of how one of the mules at one point "decided that she was tired of being there and took off and drug him six blocks through water that was at times over his head, and he felt like he was skiing behind the mule. I imagine it was absolutely terrifying for the guy. He's sort of a slender young fellow, how he made it that long without anything to eat, I don't know."

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