Orphans of Katrina
An indepth look deep inside the world’s biggest animal rescue. Find out what REALLY happened on the Gulf and how you can help save America’s pets today. Orphans of Katrina is a vivid journey, a historical account, and a celebration of the volunteer rescuers–and the animals we share our world with.
I got this back in 2017 for free from Amazon and the contents of it are about as professional as the cover image is, which isn’t necessarily a knock against the book, but it’s obvious that this was an author that put it together themselves or with a low cost service and could have used an editor for both the entire thing. The book is mostly from the POV of a woman that traveled from California to Louisiana to help rescue family pets that had been left behind in the evacuations that took place. At the time evacuation services didn’t permit animals to be brought at all, so many people either locked up their pets in their homes or were forced to just let them run free at the evacuation points. To give a sense of the scale of the problem, according to American Pet Products Association (among others) have found that about 65% of Americans have pets of some sort and with a population of around 480,000 there would have been at least 312,000 animals involved in either evacuating or staying behind.
This wasn’t a fun book to read and I’ll admit that it really bummed me out to read the pet profiles at the end of the book and a few tears were shed. I know that we all say that we’d never leave our pets behind in this types of situations, but you never know what you’ll do until that decision is right in front of you. For many of the evacuees, this was the 5th hurricane of the year to be worried about and they expected it to pass much like all the previous ones did, and it did! The damage directly from the storm itself was minimal, it was the flooding from the levee failures that did the vast majority of damage and caused a 2 or 3 day evacuation turn into a several month one.
The efforts to save the animals was commendable and I’m honestly sure that I wouldn’t have been able to do it myself. Reading between the lines, I think most of the pet findings were of animals that had already died in some truly horrifying ways. The one silver lining of the horrible situation is some legislation was put in place to try to prevent something like this from happening again in the future, called the Pets Evacuation and Transportation Standards (PETS) Act.