An Extraordinary Time » How We Got to Where We Are and How We Are Shaping Our Future

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Dog on a Shelf

In the wake of Hurricane Katrina thousands of animals were abandoned in New Orleans by owners fleeing floodwaters caused by a break in the city’s levee. Compelled to help, a small group of people from Pasado’s Animal Rescue, based out of Sultan, WA. went to New Orleans determined to rescue as many animals as possible.  They broke into houses, carried pets to safety through contaminated waters, and treated the injured.  They cleaned cages and sheltered animals turned away by the LASPCA.  More than a thousand animals facing certain death were saved through their efforts.


The federal government does not have an animal rescue plan in disaster areas.



Larry Brothers,  Bothell, WA   55

C’mon out of there you little man.  C’mon Sweetie.  Yes, Let’s go. C’mon out.  C’mon out. We’ll go out.  That’s a good boy.  Yeah.  Good boy.  There ya go.  He’s a sweetie.  No place to stay. On a shelf in a closet for 2 weeks.  Its no good.  Lets put you in a bigger cage you little love bug.


I’m a volunteer at Pasados.  Everyday we go out in several vans and we go into areas that have been flooded.  Sometimes there’s still water, 3 or 4 feet deep.  Sometimes its dry.  We go house to house looking for dogs and cats and any animals that are trapped inside. Animals that are stray and wandering the streets.  We bring them back.  We hold them.  We try and ship them out to places all over the country so that they can be adopted.  These animals are generally in pretty pathetic condition.  They haven’t eaten or had water, now its going on 2 weeks.  Many of them were obviously abused and neglected before the hurricane.  People have chained them into the houses.  Taken off without them.  Sometimes, I think often because they thought they’d be back in a couple days, And then the levees broke and the dogs are left without food or water.  Cats as well.  Dead, decomposing bodies.  Its just a horrible. Overwhelming situation.  There’s thousands and thousands and thousands of these animals.


We had just set up at a particular place in New Orleans and got a call from some of the police who said there was a bull mastiff, vicious, snarling, snapping bull mastiff who was trapped on a shelf in a closet in a house.  Nobody else would come and get him and if we couldn’t get him out, they’re gonna shoot ‘em.  So a couple of us jumped in a van and went down there, went into this demolished house, just reeking, full of some kind of toxic waste, 5 or 6 inches. And found this snarling, horrifying bullmastiff in the closet who turned out to be a little Sheba Innu mix, about probably 25 or 30 pounds.  He was acting like a crazed Tasmanian devil. Wouldn’t let anyone get near him and was crouched on a shelf in a closet.  I knew that if I spooked him he’d probably just jump past me and run out of the house and the police would shoot him.  And I have to say it was kind of interesting to have all these, 8 or 9, big strapping cops standing outside afraid of this little Sheba Innu.  Though to be fair to them he could’ve torn their face off.


So now he’s my buddy.  He’s no longer a crazed Tasmanian devil.  Now he’s just mildly insane.  He’s just a sweet boy.  I think he’s really typical of the animals that are here in general.  They’ve been horribly traumatized.  A lot of them probably didn’t have the greatest life to start with with.  They’ve been left alone.  They’ve been scared, lonely, hungry, dying of thirst. They come in with their ribs sprung, they’re pelvis showing.  This dead look in their eye or else.  They’re either completely stunned or so scared that they curl up in a little ball in the corner.  Bite out of fear or sometimes become aggressive but its amazing what happens after just a day or two of some care and some sweetness and some food and some safety.


I think he can be adopted.  He’s extremely adoptable now.  He’s incredibly cute.


UPDATE:  The Dog on a Shelf was sent to an animal rescuer’s in Arkansas after his rescue by Pasado’s.  His rescuer, Larry Brothers returned to his home in Bothell, Wash. a few weeks later after being bitten by a different dog during a rescue in New Orleans.  

Four months later, haunted by memories of the dog on a shelf, Larry Brothers inquired about the fate the dog, but the dog couldn’t be accounted for.

Immediately afterwards, the Dog on a Shelf was returned to the animal rescuer’s in Arkansas by an elderly lady who said the dog wasn’t good around her grandchildren.  Recognizing the pooch as the Dog on a Shelf, Larry Brothers was called and he flew down to claim him.  The two live in Bothell, Washington with four other dogs and Larry’s fiancee Amanda Brothers.


In addition to a new family, the dog got a new name:  Lucky

To see more pictures from the Pasados’ Safe Haven rescue effort after Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans click on the link:

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