I've recently found out that a very special animal friend named Zoey is suffering from a massive cancerous growth on her head, bulging out in a cringe-inducing way (see photo and x-ray). She needs pain medicine (Rimadyl) and some funds to cover any medical costs she will need (including homeopathic cures).
Her companion and caretaker, Al, is an amazing man "” a Marine Vietnam veteran (USMC, 3rd FSR, 1[phone redacted]) and heroic animal rescuer who, with Zoey, spent 6 months volunteering to help save and improve the lives of hundreds of animals in the Hurricane Katrina devastated city of New Orleans.
Both Zoey and Al have now fallen on hard times and they need financial help from you.
Social media was in its infancy when Hurricane Katrina roared into our lives. Facebook was moving towards adding only its 5.5 millionth member (they now have over 1 Billion). Because of this, the story or Zoey and Al never reached beyond the small circle of rescuers who came into contact with them. By using GoFundMe and Facebook, I hope we can change that because the stories of how they worked together are legendary, their accomplishments are real and meaningful and deserve to be told to a greater audience.
This introduction is the first of more to come from both myself, and the people who knew them (see the comments section below), worked with them, and remain loyal, true friends to this day. Our goal is to reward this heroic man and dog duo for their service to our country and to the people and animals of New Orleans in this, their time of great need.
So let me start telling their story, by traveling back to the time before Katrina hit. Al had been an Animal Control Officer (ACO) in Moulstrie County, Illinois and that's where he had found Zoey as a pup. They were immediately inseparable and became quite the duo. It wasn't long before Zoey became as instrumental in assisting Al do his ACO job as a ketch pole and a trap were. She seemed to know that Al was trying to help other animals, and so would assist him in the capturing of other dogs by sometimes putting herself in harms way. But she never once bit another dog. By calming them, she would often lead the dog to Al's ketch pole, and to safety.
And then Hurricane Katrina devastated the city of New Orleans, and Al heard of the great need to help thousands of animals stranded in locked homes and roaming the streets with no food or water. Without hesitation, Al quit his job, packed up his pick-up truck with the tools of his trade and some belongings, and drove down to New Orleans with Zoey.
Some parts of the city they entered were abandoned and without power, drinkable water or gasoline. To deal with the situation, local authorities had setup a staging area on the grounds of a huge expo center called Lamarr-Dixon, just on outskirts of New Orleans.
It was there that Zoey & Al joined up with a fledgling animal rescue effort run by the HSUS. In the ensuing weeks, this operation would grow and be joined by other groups and hundreds of other rescuers. So would begin their tour of duty, and it wasn't until 6 months after the storm had passed over that they ceased their rescue efforts. To this day, they remain in the city of New Orleans, a place where they witnessed so much death and destruction, but sacrificed themselves to assist others.
If you would like to read some stories from other rescuers about their experiences, please go to my blog.
We thank you for your caring and donations.
Al & Zoey in happier times
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