by Debbie Reed, Foster Mom

A tiny girl, Daisy, was given up by her owners because they could not afford heartworm treatment. ARNO’s executive director has a soft spot for Cockers, as pre-Katrina her independent rescue group was all-breed, then quickly became all-breed plus cockers to answer a need in Louisiana for this breed’s rescue.

A tiny girl, Daisy, was given up by her owners because they could not afford heartworm treatment. ARNO’s executive director has a soft spot for Cockers, as pre-Katrina her independent rescue group was all-breed, then quickly became all-breed plus cockers to answer a need in Louisiana for this breed’s rescue.

It’s a love affair pet owners know well. Scouring Petfinder, other online animal shelter pages or a making a trip to the local pound, someone falls head over heels. This case wasn’t any different. Diana Kraus who leads a rescue group, CastOff Cockers, in Mesa, AZ spotted Daisy online. She has a soft spot for this petite cocker breed. A foster volunteer spotted Daisy about the same time and offered to provide a recovery environment; the little cocker needed to heal and mend after heartworm treatment.

Behind the scenes is the family who had to surrender Daisy. A beloved pet, they could no longer keep the dog and couldn’t afford expensive heartworm treatment to bring her back to good health. The family lost their house to Katrina. Pets are not allowed in their new apartment. ARNO took the dog in and paid for needed veterinary care and the foster home made sure that Daisy remained quiet during recovery, a small feat, dealing with a lively four year old cocker spaniel.

Diana contacted a friend about the possibility of transporting Daisy. Nine weeks later, it was time to take Daisy to Arizona. The owner of MTE, Inc. a trucking firm based in Phoenix, volunteered to drive her in style and diverted a Miami run by stopping in New Orleans solely to pick up Daisy. Dave, the driver and a self-professed animal lover, contacted the foster home for directions. The semi was way too big to get into the neighborhood so arrangements were made to meet at a nearby Home Depot. Daisy’s journey “home” began.

Diana Kraus, Director of CastOff Cockers, who is giving Daisy a permanent home, has made it her mission to help cocker spaniels in need. (And ARNO’s executive director has a soft spot in her heart for Cockers, too.) In particular, Diana loves all things Cajun and gives all her female dogs French names. This adoption was a perfect match. When Daisy arrived in Phoenix Diana declared “she’s adorable and is adjusting well. She really bonded with Dave who brought her all these miles from New Orleans to Phoenix; Daisy really couldn’t have had a better trip. She is very playful, which suits my youngest cocker, Aries, well. The two of them turns heads when we walk; they are both exceptionally beautiful little cockers! Daisy runs and runs and plays and plays and has a little cocker blast.”

Daisy with her driver, Dave, and foster Mom, Debbie Reed, as they were getting ready to leave New Orleans. Now that’s a big rig in the background to carry a very little girl all the way to Arizona to CastOff Cockers’ Diana Kraus.

Daisy with her driver, Dave, and foster Mom, Debbie Reed, as they were getting ready to leave New Orleans. Now that’s a big rig in the background to carry a very little girl all the way to Arizona to CastOff Cockers’ Diana Kraus.

This story has a happy ending but many animals don’t make it out of shelters into new homes. With so many animals on their own and running loose after the storm overpopulation has occurred. A smaller base of homes, cut by more than half, results in a shortage of families able to adopt. This is no one’s fault but the situation after Katrina weighs heavily on all those who try to rescue and save.

One year later after the storm, the work continues plus more… ARNO is setting up the largest foster network ever in the state of Louisiana, fostering for reunites as well as finding new homes for pets that are not claimed. The rescue work goes on, and each day is different … in late June three small, precious dogs were rescued from a home on the Jefferson Parish side of the 17th Street Canal levee break. The home was going to be demolished the next day. Yes, these dogs were in the house since Katrina. One more story … with a very happy ending. ARNO is all about the animals. Always in need of volunteers to sustain a constant flow for ARNO’s programs… You can volunteer for a weekend, a few days, a week or a month. Out-of-town volunteers are needed more than ever, as the condition of our area means many less people live here. The residents that are here are trying very hard to rebuild their lives, their homes and their psyches. Most local resident volunteers can only give a few hours a week at best. Consider coming to New Orleans to take part in what some volunteers are calling ‘a once-in-a-lifetime experience’…many have come two and three times to help and say they cannot get the New Orleans area and the animals out of their minds and hearts. If you can volunteer, email arnovolunteer@yahoo.com. You can also submit an online volunteer application.

Little Daisy with Dave, her long-distance truck driving chauffeur, when they arrived in Mesa, Arizona. Dave insisted that Daisy not ride in a kennel, but upfront in the cab with him. We can’t imagine a better cross-country trip: a man and a dog.

Little Daisy with Dave, her long-distance truck driving chauffeur, when they arrived in Mesa, Arizona. Dave insisted that Daisy not ride in a kennel, but upfront in the cab with him. We can’t imagine a better cross-country trip: a man and a dog.

Financial help is needed more than ever too … Katrina is no longer the first thing people think of, much less worry about. We know our situation is ‘old news.’ But we beg that you do not forget us. Our work to help these animals must continue… we are in it for the long haul and intend to make every effort to ensure that any animal that has been left homeless after this catastrophe is safe. Please consider making even a small contribution to ARNO today. Donate, volunteer, foster a pet that had no choice in losing their home, and/or foster a volunteer while they are in the New Orleans area. The animals still need us all. You can donate online at https://animalrescueneworleans.org.

About ARNO (Animal Rescue New Orleans)

Animal Rescue New Orleans (ARNO) is an organization created for and dedicated to the rescue and aid of abandoned and homeless animals in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. ARNO’s response includes, but is not limited to, immediate medical needs, as well as rescue of those animals that have been neglected, abused and deprived of loving care. ARNO promotes the foster, adoption, and reunion of pets with their original caretakers, as well as spaying/neutering of all companion animals.

About Castoff Cockers

The organization began eight years ago as a one person rescue, quietly saving one cocker spaniel at a time in honor of Simone La Bone, a stunningly gorgeous and all-around wonderful red/white Parti Girl who died far too young at the age of four. Over the last year, the organization has grown to six regular volunteers. They accept cocker spaniels and other small dogs who, for whatever reason, find themselves homeless, and dogs turned in by their owners when circumstances don’t allow them to keep their pets. The rescue group accepts strays and dogs from county shelters and those given to them by the AZ Humane Society. As whelping experts, they also accept pregnant small breed or small mixed breed dogs. http://www.castoffcockers.org

About MTE, Inc.

MTE is a trucking firm owned by M. Lee Pipgras located in Phoenix, AZ. They are involved in the transport of food products throughout the country. They have a dedicated team of professionals who have soft spots in their hearts for animals. The company has an inbound and outbound truck traveling through New Orleans every week and helps in the transport of pets that can be re-homed in the Phoenix area. www.logisticssolutions.net Lee is himself an animal lover and “adopter” of little Ariel, whose formerly sad story involved shelter managers in New Mexico hiding her in a bathroom while emergency transport was arranged. Because transport is so difficult, Ariel and her newborn babies remained sequestered so the county manager and her prior owner couldn’t insist on euthanasia — for several weeks. When Lee learned his new best friend’s history, he volunteered his trucking company to help other dogs in need.