Each week here on Blue's Pet Page, join us for “Happy Tails” as we tell the stories of compassionate, caring Acadiana residents who have opened their hearts and their homes to a new best friend, rescued from an area animal shelter or pet rescue organization.
In the chaotic days after Hurricane Katrina, thousands of pets were lost, abandoned, or trapped inside flooded homes and apartments. Most did not survive, but the lucky ones were rescued by dedicated volunteers from animal welfare groups from throughout the state and around the country. One such group is ARNO, or Animal Rescue of New Orleans, whose volunteers work with several Acadiana pet rescue groups to find homes for animals in need. This is the story of how a dog rescued by ARNO found a “forever” home here in Lafayette.
“My family and I have raised, owned and trained Labradors as long as I
can remember. Our first Labrador was a very serious hunting dog that my
dad owned, and when my parents divorced, he took her from our home. A few
years later, she passed away. I felt a need to have another Labrador so I
began searching for one. One night I was searching www.Petfinder.com
when I ran across Phoenix, with a picture that no one could resist. I
sent an email and next thing I knew, a month later, he found a forever
home with me.
“Phoenix came to my home by way of Animal Rescue of New Orleans.
Right after Katrina, he was turned over to A.R.N.O. with only a note
saying, “Phoenix: loves kids.” That's all the background we know about
his life before and during Katrina. Once he was turned over to A.R.N.O.
he went through four different foster homes before he was sent to his last foster home in Baton Rouge. When I went to meet him for the first time, I brought him a pig ear treat. He took it from me very gently and paraded around the apartment until I sat down. As soon
as I sat down, he immediately got on the couch next to me and laid his
paws across my legs as though he had known me forever. A few weeks later,
he was home with me. It took a few weeks for him to calm down while getting
used to his new environment. In March I sent him to my dad's house so we
could work on obedience training. He stayed there for a month, running
with all the other Labradors my dad was training. About a week into his
training, my dad called me to tell me that he thought Phoenix was
supposed to be a hunting dog before the hurricane because he knew all
his commands, he just needed to be reminded of them.
“In December of 2007, my mom was diagnosed with cervical cancer. When she came back from her surgery, Phoenix knew something wasn't right and became very gentle with
her and helped nurse her back to health. He is very protective of me,
but not in an aggressive manner. He will push someone away from me that
he doesn't like, or come stand or sit between me and someone he doesn't think is a
good person. He is extremely spoiled and sleeps either in my bed with me
or in my recliner every night. He's only lived with my family for about
a year and a half, and although he has only been with us for a short
period of time, I can't imagine my life without him.”
Our thanks to Chris and Phoenix for sharing their story. If you have a “Happy Tail” to tell, send it to us! E-mail your story, with photos if possible, to firstname.lastname@example.org. Lots more Happy Tails coming your way soon!