Debra L. Haley, LCSW
Having worked with a family who'd moved to Mississippi and lost everything they owned from Katrina, I had a strong, unwavering desire to assist with the aftermath. I checked with the pastor of my church to find out if they had a mission planned. There wasn't, but I didn't stop there. I googled Katrina Missions and much to my surprise, found a church leaving in less than two weeks!
It was my hope to assist with counseling and the rebuilding of homes, however, I was also asked to assist in the animal shelters. I was informed that the animals were "low priority" due to the fact employees had lost their homes and were preoccupied with attempting to coordinate with FEMA.
My response: "you don't understand, I grew up on an animal farm; there is no way I can look those animals in the eye and not want to take each of them home". Needless to say, I did work in the shelter bathing all the pups, walking all the dogs and cleaning all of the pens. Although I was determined not to look into their eyes, as I was cleaning the cage of one dog, I saw her cowering in the corner, shivering fearfully. I quickly turned away and tried to jet out of her pen. However, she ran over to me, took her little paws, wrapped them around my ankle and did not let go. As her little body dragged along the concrete, she never let go of my leg and I burst into tears!! Consequently, my little Mississippi Mud Pie and her sister in the next cage, Kitty Kat Trina drove 18 hours home with me in the back of someone else's Mercedes Benz and never made a peep. They have become the biggest Blessing in my life.