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May 18, 2011

Doting on the Animals as the Water Rises

Field notes from Mississippi and Missouri

Animal Rescue Team

  • Sheriff Mayfield enjoys Rosco's company just as much as anyone else. Tara Loller/HSUS

Adams County Sheriff Mayfield arranged a helicopter tour of Vidalia and the surrounding areas so we can assess the area and understand what we might face if the levees do not hold. Our staff could see the water nearly up to the levee. In many areas, seepage has already saturated the farmland.

What we saw when we did water rescue in Tunica was eye-opening in so many ways. The sheer power of the water was evident when the pilot pointed out displaced mobile homes in evacuated areas.

See a slideshow with more images from our rescue and sheltering work.

The community has done a great job of moving livestock away from farms near the levees. The lessons of Katrina are not lost on this community, and they want to and are doing the right things.

The heart of the shelter: Rosco

Our staff takes excellent care of all the animals at the shelter, even giving the extra attention that some require. Going the extra mile is evident with one particular dog named Rosco. 

Rosco comes from a family that completely dotes on him. Rosco does not realize he is a large dog, and he seems to believe he is a lap dog. He loves to sit on laps, "sing," and stay among the staff and volunteers a little more than the rest of his canine colleagues. Every new volunteer quickly learns he is the shelter baby and to do whatever is necessary to make him happy on his "vacation" with us.

Rosco's family comes almost every day to visit him, and it gives them peace of mind to find him outside singing to us. Rosco is loved by all.

Status and plans

The Natchez, Mississippi, emergency shelter took in six more cats and two more dogs. We are the lead at the Missouri emergency shelter for evacuating families. In partnership with other groups, HSUS staff and volunteers are caring for 128 animals. We are sending notices to Missouri pet owners who have not picked up their pets. Twenty kittens will travel from Missouri to South Carolina for placement there.

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