Their homes were destroyed, their owners gone, trapped, or worse, dead. The horrific aftermath of Hurricane Katrina didn't just affect thousands of people; it also affected thousands of animals. But thanks to local volunteers, a lot of hope, and a lot of rescue came through.
Volunteers at Dekalb's TAILS Humane Society are back from the rescue of a lifetime, a mission which saved hundreds of stranded pets, some of which who are recovering right here in northern Illinois.
Gentilly, a cat named after the devastated New Orleans parish, was one such animal. This brave feline was pregnant during Hurricane Katrina, and gave birth to three kittens amidst the destruction. In fact, Gentilly is fostering a fourth kitten found by a national guardsman.
Two volunteers from TAILS helped rescue Gentilly and hundreds of other pets. They were part of a massive operation through the Humane Society of the United States. Through their efforts, displaced animals are being reunited with their owners, or being nursed back to health at shelters in Houston, Cincinnati and other cities.
Those who took part are still soaking in all they accomplished.
"If I only saved one animal I would have felt it would have been worthwhile. I know there were a lot of animals, but when you see how many there were to save, you know you can't do it all, so you just celebrate the ones you can," TAILS Humane Society President Kathy Stelford said.
The area animal rescue volunteers stayed at an open air shelter in Gonzalez Louisiana about 20 miles from New Orleans. Those down there say between 300 and 400 rescued animals came into the shelter each day in the days following Katrina.