“On August 29, 2005, a community and its animals were irrevocably and tragically altered. Katrina, one of the deadliest and strongest hurricanes ever recorded, exacted a devastating blow to the Gulf Coast leading to the loss of thousands of lives, both people and animals.” * For the people who survived, many lost their pets and were never reunited. We imagine the human Katrina survivors who had to abandon their animals have spent many sleepless nights wondering where their pets ended up and if they found happy lives with new people.
Where was SASHA Farm in 2005? Our founders had been rescuing animals since the 80’s and became a nonprofit in 2001. Although the focus was on farmed animals, they had an incredible “dog barn” and had rescued and adopted out many dogs who could not find placement otherwise.
When we heard about Katrina, we knew that we could help, and that our wonderful community of supporters and veterinary partners would do everything they could to make certain these Katrina rescues would go on to lead healthy, happy lives with new adoptive families. Our volunteers, our staff, and our founder, Dorothy Davies, made several trips to shelters in the New Orleans area to bring back dogs to SASHA Farm, where they would be lovingly cared for while being treated by veterinarians and adopted out to families in the area.
For a few weeks, it was pretty chaotic. But truly a joyful chaos – as about 50 dogs (adults and puppies), along with donated dog crates, food dishes, dog food, medicines, toys, blankets, leashes, collars, and so much more – just took over the Farm. The kind and loving veterinarians in the area provided their services free of charge, and our compassionate volunteers and staff took on the additional duties of caring for all of these dogs. Many were found to be heartworm positive, and most were suffering from malnutrition, dehydration, skin problems, and all other issues imaginable. The majority needed to be spayed or neutered as well.
Once the dogs were on the road to good health, the adoption process began. It was an incredible time, seeing how many in the community were so eager to open their homes to a Katrina dog. There were countless happy endings, and we received many letters from adopters telling us how much joy their adopted dogs brought into their homes.
Fast forward to 2020. We assume that many of these Katrina dogs adopted from SASHA Farm have passed. But let us tell you about Zoey. She was adopted out to a couple in the area and lived 15 incredible years with them. She followed her adoptive mom everywhere and loved every minute of her life. But through no fault of Zoey’s, or of her people, the adopting parents became unable to care for her any longer. They called Dorothy and asked if she could come back to SASHA to live out the rest of her life. Dorothy responded immediately, “Of course. We would be honored to welcome her back to SASHA Farm.”
You see, another Katrina survivor, little Toto, also lives with Monte and Dorothy in their home, along with two other rescued terriers. Dorothy found Toto on one of her trips to New Orleans. Thinking she was a puppy, she soon realized Toto was just an older, quiet dog. Now, Toto and Zoey will have plenty to discuss!
A few other Katrina dogs stayed at SASHA Farm rather than being adopted out. Miles and Zevon were rescued from the roof of a flooded house. Zevon jumped off safely and got to the rescuers, but Miles broke his foot when he tried to follow his buddy. They rode back to Michigan in the same crate and were inseparable for all the years they lived together, even when one had to go the vet. The other put up such a fuss that it was easier to take both together. Sadly, Miles passed in 2018 and Zevon several years before that. They were both favorites of visitors and volunteers alike and are deeply missed. Bella was another Katrina dog who was adopted out three times but each time she ran back to SASHA Farm, so finally we knew that SASHA was meant to be her forever home until she passed.
Left below: Miles is the bigger dog on the left in the crate. Right below: Miles was a sweet, happy boy, loved by all. RIP Miles and Zevon.
Zoey, as you might expect, is still checking out her new surroundings, just starting to feel comfortable. She misses her parents but is starting to come to Dorothy and Monte for pets and scratches. She is beginning to show her appetite too. Sweet, gentle, and very quiet, we expect Zoey will start making some noises and following Dorothy around in no time!
We ask that any of you who adopted a dog from SASHA after Katrina to post a picture on Facebook or Instagram with a little about your dog, or send to firstname.lastname@example.org. If your dog has gone to the Bridge, we offer our deepest condolences. We imagine there is a VERY SPECIAL place for all the Katrina dogs at the Rainbow Bridge.
Welcome back to SASHA Farm, Zoey. We are so grateful that you survived Katrina and have been able to find love again.
* Quote taken from the Louisiana SPCA website on Hurricane Katrina: