Monday, September 19, 2005

Superman Rescued from New Orleans

Several animal rescue organizations have been working to retrieve stranded and abandoned pets in the Gulf Coast area. Most people evacuated from the Superdome were not allowed to bring their companion animals on the busses, but the Houston SPCA reports that many small pets were smuggled on board. People left other items behind, so they could hide a small dog or a cat in a bag. One women even smuggled a bird in her bra.

Some dogs were just too large to be smuggled though and they were left behind. Superman was one of those. KSBW says he is a bulldog mix and KION called him a pit bull.

Regardless of what kind of dog he is, he's a lucky one. KSBW reports:

Superman -- a bulldog mix -- was brought to Santa Cruz along with two dozen dogs that were rescued from New Orleans. This weekend, his owner got a call that he thought he wouldn't get -- his dog is safe and ready to go home.

Alkaseem Colar said he got separated from his dog when he was forced to board an evacuation bus in New Orleans, and his dog had to stay behind. Colar has now relocated to Houston, Texas.
The reunion was made easier because just before Colar boarded the bus, he ripped up a T-shirt, wrote his mother's name and phone number on it, and tied it around the dog's neck. When the dog arrived in Santa Cruz, animal handlers saw the writing and called the owner.

'It was kind of getting rough on me because it had almost been three weeks without seeing him. I worried about him everyday when I got the phone call. (It) made me feel a hell of a lot better,' Colar said.

Colar said his dog isn't registered, but that's what he will do as soon as they are reunited, which could be as early as this week.

The animal shelters in Santa Cruz have received 24 dogs from New Orleans. On Wednesday, they will begin the process of placing the dogs in foster homes. "
The same story from KION:

A New Orleans pit bull named Superman is a long way from home, but will soon be reunited with his owner thanks to a rolled-up T-shirt and a magic marker.

Superman was left behind under a New Orleans freeway overpass when his owner, 34-year-old Alkaseem Colar, joined other Hurricane Katrina survivors on a rescue bus that didn't allow pets.

Colar said he waited until the last minute, spending three days under the overpass and letting as many as 20 buses pass him by in the hopes that one would allow him to bring his dog.

Finally, he gave in and decided to save himself. He took a T-shirt out of one of his bags - which he had carried from his flooded home on foot with Superman swimming behind - and wrote down his name and phone number along with his mother's information.

"I got a pen from another reporter," he said tonight in a phone interview from Houston, where he is staying with his wife.

"The reporter, she wrote it for me while I held the shirt."

He tied the ripped shirt around Superman's neck and said goodbye.

"I cried when I had to leave him because I really didn't want to leave," Colar said.

Colar was taken to Houston and had no more news about Superman until he spoke with his mother.

"When I made it to Houston, my momma told me that she had seen him on CNN," he said.

Colar said Superman had appeared on television with a National Guard soldier, but that after the broadcast he still had no way to locate his pet.

Colar looked on, a Web site designed to reunite lost pets with their owners, but didn't find Superman.

Meanwhile, Superman somehow ended up in a group of pets that was flown to the Bay Area last week.

His flight landed at San Francisco International Airport around midnight Friday, according to Lisa Carter, executive director of the Santa Cruz SPCA.

Carter said the planeload of pets was part of a coordinated effort by Bay Area animal shelters to assist animals victimized by the hurricane and reunite them with their owners.

Superman and nine other dogs from that flight were taken to Santa Cruz, where they were let out of their travel crates for the first time in about 24 hours.

"You could see that they were really relieved," said 16-year-old Santa Cruz SPCA worker Keely Gjelsteen.

In addition to being tired and antsy, the dogs were dirty from having been stranded in the flooded city.

"They were pretty nasty and disgusting looking," Gjelsteen said.

While the animals were being processed, Gjelsteen said she noticed the rolled-up T-shirt tied around Superman's neck, and as she undid the cloth, she saw that it had been written on with blue permanent marker.

Colar's name had worn off, but Gjelsteen was able to call his mother Marie, and the news was then passed on to Colar.

"That was some of the best news I'd heard," he said.

"I can't wait to see Supe. I know he's gonna go crazy when he sees me."

Superman will be driven to Houston by the Monterey SPCA, which is headed that way anyway to provide relief to overwhelmed workers at a Houston shelter, Carter said.

The other nine dogs at the Santa Cruz SPCA are being taken to local foster homes and their profiles will be posted on, according to Carter, who said finding foster homes has been easy.

"The community support has been amazing," she said.