As we are nearing the five-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina hitting New Orleans and the Gulf Coast on August 29, 2005 and the city’s levees breaking on August 30, a new book takes us back to the largest animal rescue operation in history. ORPHANS OF KATRINA by Karen O’Toole is a remarkable account of the author’s experiences while spending four months volunteering as an animal rescuer. She also served for several subsequent months by helping evacuees find lost pets.
Karen writes, “No one asked what it felt like to walk through vast suburbs, thick with homes, yet never find another person, never see a car move, never hear a bird chirp. No one asked what it was like to sleep on the toxic hot pavement of a parking lot with armed military guards all around so that you wouldn’t be killed at night. And most importantly, no one asked what it was like to live in a city full of entombed, dying pets unseen in the houses and apartments surrounding you. It was a citywide guessing game and we were losing. What was it like? What was it really like? No one asked.”
Karen has answered all those questions and many more with a book that has the pace and drama of a thriller. It chronicles in gripping narrative and through compelling photos the highs and lows of her gritty experiences. It truly is a book that every animal lover will want to read.
For our book, RESCUED: SAVING ANIMALS FROM DISASTER, we interviewed Karen and hundreds of others who searched for animals and reunited them with their families. We were able to touch upon many aspects of the animal rescue operation that was marked by chaos and passion. People who went to serve on the Gulf Coast told us that by reading our book they learned things about what was going on in other parts of the disaster area that they hadn’t heard while working down there.
Karen’s book, however, goes into great depth about the experiences of these animal rescue heroes. It takes readers on an unforgettable journey of a lifetime. Karen is an excellent, award-winning writer. Her book will keep you turning the pages.
We applaud Karen for telling and sharing these stories of animal rescue. Books like this make it less likely that animals will ever be left behind again. ORPHANS OF KATRINA deserves to be read widely. It will help to bring about changes in policy and practice. The book compellingly illustrates that it is imperative for human and animal families to be kept together through disasters and emergencies.
Visit www.orphansofkatrina.com for more about ORPHANS OF KATRINA.