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'They’re treating us like we belong' | Pets away from home because of Hurricane Laura get New Orleans hospitality

“(During) Hurricane Katrina, we learned firsthand that people would not evacuate if they could not take their pets with them”

NEW ORLEANS — MJ and her son Duke, a pair of Bulldogs from Lake Charles, were like so many other pets evacuated from southwest Louisiana with their family of humans, like Constance Glapion.

“It has been a struggle because they have never traveled before,” said Glapion.

Glapion’s home was heavily damaged, so for Wednesday, home was the Residence Inn in New Orleans.

“Being in a car for hours, they had a lot of anxiety. They were restless, but we made it," she said.

To help ease pet and human anxiety, a mobile pet clinic has been visiting hotels that have relaxed their pet policy.

“We want to make sure that pets stay with their people,” said Ana Zorrilla, CEO of the Louisiana SPCA.

To help make that happen, Zorrilla said vaccines, flea medicine, and microchipping, most of it donated, have been being given to hotel pet evacuees for free. After a few sticks and some not so tasty medicine, MJ and Duke were on their way.

“(During) Hurricane Katrina, we learned firsthand that people would not evacuate if they could not take their pets with them,” said Zorrilla.

That’s exactly the case with Roux, a 5-year-old Weimaraner from Sulphur.

“There was no way in the world we were going to leave her behind,” said Guidry.

Her owner, Kevin Guidry, said she provides emotional comfort for he and his wife.

“You don’t know how excited I was to hear that they had shots,” said Guidry.

Guidry said he lost his home in the storm, and he was grateful for the kindness of strangers in a time of need.

“They’re treating us like we belong to them. It’s such an amazing feeling getting welcomed after all this trauma,” said Guidry.

That a sentiment Glapion said even the dogs understand.

“We thank y’all, the city of New Orleans, for taking care of us and taking care of our pets and making sure that we’re ok during this tough time,” said Glapion.

This is an effort happening all over the state. The Louisiana SPCA even worked to clear its shelter to house pets that couldn’t be with their family.  

For evacuees needing assistance, call 2-1-1.

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