I’m learning that part of Kate’s legacy is how her story has affected and influenced others. With their permission, their stories are shared here:
On March 2nd, Jim wrote:
I bought your book last Sunday at the Pet Expo, and just finished reading it tonight at work. All I can say is, “Wow!” Anything more would detract. Your writing brings to light so many things, what you saw in Louisiana, and what you did for Kate and what you have done in her memory. I was not aware the depth of the animal rescue cause and what all is involved. I have signed up with the Midwest Transport yahoo group. I know that I can do that much right now. I am from Ohio originally and have travelled extensively the states in between. I love to drive and am willing to go extra distances if needed. I noticed that most transports are on weekends which doesn’t work well with my work schedule. If you hear of any transports that are needed during the week (my days off), I may be able to help.
I have 5 dogs of my own, all rescues of one form or another. I do herding with one, agility with another and our latest addition is trying both. Our senior two like to chase balls and swim.
Thank you for writing your book. It was a tremendous learning experience for me.
Remember Carolyn, the Katrina survivor who lost her dad in the flood just after the hurricane? She showed me around the NOLA area when I returned there in May. In November 2008 I received a note from her about the book:
I… have been wanting to really thank you for the 8 State Hurricane Kate Book… what I have read has been very moving & uplifting. This book has made me realize even more what you, Cindy, Sarah & so many others did for our animals. The sacrifices you & so many others have done for us still will never be forgotten. I am sending a copy of this book to my best friend, in LA who used to live in New Orleans for 25 years. I know she will love the book. Thank you for the time you spent in creating this masterpiece & I am honored that we were part of 8 State Hurricane Kate. God Bless All of the Animals, especially Kate!
Earlier she had written:
There is a place in Heaven for you & your organization. I have a suspicion that you will be greeted by the animals first! I wonder why? Take care.
Wouldn’t that be cool? To make it to heaven and be greeted by all of the animals?
The story of Carolyn’s dad Al and his dogs Bruce and Duke is told in chapter 7 of the book. They are among the many faces of those who were lost to Katrina and those who survived as well. I don’t want Al, Bruce, or Duke to be forgotten. Friendship with Carolyn and our connectedness across the country is one of the positive outcomes of the Katrina tragedy. Helping the animals and meeting wonderful people like Carolyn was (and is) our pleasure.
On September 17, 2008, I received this wonderful message from Sheryl, Kenna’s mom. Kenna’s story is told in Chapter 17 of the book. Sheryl gave me permission to share this with you:
About a month ago I received an e-mail from Kenna’s foster mother, Rebecca, letting me know that Kenna’s story was to be included in a book. I immediately ordered 8 State Hurricane Kate. Ironcially, the book arrived just as another hurricane, Gustav, was bearing down on Baton Rouge. I wept the entire time I read the book. Jenny, you have truly impacted my life. To fully understand the affect you have had on both Kenna and myself, you need to know more of our story.
In November of 2004 I fled Georgia with only the clothes I could carry. I was leaving an abusive marriage in search of a new beginning. I landed in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. In fleeing, I had to leave everything behind, including my beloved golden retriever. Through the divorce proceedings, I tried to get my dog back, but the best I could do was get visitation rights. In August, I experienced the ravages of hurricane Katrina in a small apartment in Baton Rouge. With no family and only a few friends, I was terrified. I heard about the efforts going on at Lamar Dixon and wanted to help. But I was so fragile, just trying to make it through each day was all I could handle, I couldn’t give any more of myself. For weeks, I didn’t have electricity, phone, or water. I was the senior manager for my company in Louisiana and as such I had my hands full trying to make sure all my staff was evacuated from New Orleans and that they were safe. Work was the only thing that kept me going during those days. Then Rita hit and Baton Rouge suffered more than it did during Katrina. Emotionally spent, and grieving over lost family members and pets, the I and the other residents of Baton Rouge struggled through the rest of the year. It was during this tragedy that I found my home in this wonderful city.
Many months later, I was given my male ACD, Bleu, by a wonderful man. I fell in love with the breed. I was on Dogster.com one day researching the breed and happened to come across Kenna’s web page. My heart filled with a joy I had never known and it seemed as though Kenna was speaking to me. After working with Rebecca and finalizing the adoption, I took my little Kenna home. She and Bleu quickly became inseparable.
On Christmas day of 2007, while grooming Kenna, I found a lump. Panic and worry set in. As soon as I could get an appointment, I took Kenna to the vet. They immediately performed surgery and removed the tumor from her chest. They sent the mass off to pathology to be tested. They told me that we would get the results in two weeks. After a very anxious couple of weeks, the vet told me that the lab lost the sample. They needed more tissue to do testing. My little girl had to go through more surgery! After the second surgery, the clinic called back. They found the original sample. Tests confirmed that Kenna had a soft tissue sarcoma. That’s cancer of the connective tissue. I was devastated, but immediately decided to proceed with radiation treatments. I borrowed everything I could and sold off some of my retirement investments to pay for her treatment. Family and friends couldn’t understand my commitment to this young dog. Three times a week for seven weeks, I took Kenna to the LSU Veterinary School of Medicine for treatments. I had to, I understood what my little girl was going through. I too had had cancer. Twenty years ago. I survived, I knew she could too! Caring for Kenna restored my purpose and rejuvenated my will to live my own life. Today, she is in remission and is as playful as a puppy.
Jenny, you are my angel. If you hadn’t saved Kate, Kenna wouldn’t have been pulled from that gas chamber in time. She never would have come to me. We are all connected. Your actions impacted my life. You were Kate’s savior, and through your effort, you have become mine and Kenna’s savior as well. Thank you for all you do.
P.S. – Kenna has her own web-page out on Dogster. You can go the the following link to see updated pictures…http://www.dogster.com/dogs/418662
On September 16, 2008, Jenn wrote from Texas:
Hi Jenny, You don’t know me, but I feel like I know you after reading “8 State Hurricane Kate”. Thank you so much for sharing your story and Kate’s. I took in a 10 yr old ACD from a shelter in Houston on the day she was to be euthanized. It has been difficult at times and has taken a LOT of work, but she is now healthy, happy, and gets along with my 2 yr old ACD, Yoyo. I just wanted you to know what an inspiration you are to me. There have been times in rescue that I have felt overwhelmed and ready to give up – but after reading your book, I feel rejuvenated and have a fresh passion for helping these guys – especially the old dogs that deserve a chance. If I remember correctly, today – September 16 – is the anniversary of the day you met Kate. After over a month of work and worry – we finally got a 10 yr old ACD named Sweetie Pie to her forever home today. This one is for Kate – as she has helped show the rescue world that even the old guys are worth saving. Thank you again for your diligence in saving as many as you can. You make me want to try harder and do more.