Thomas Friedman has written a timely op-ed in the New York Times, but the headline is even more pertinent to south Louisiana: “We Are All Noah Now.” Pet owners, be sure you have enough carriers for your animals, because you may need to evacuate with them.
Last month my house almost flooded. I say “almost” because water rose fourteen inches up to the sill; another half-inch and it would have been inside. But the yard was underwater, the carport submerged, and the bird feeder soaked. Not having faced this particular emergency before, my panic was rising almost as quickly as the water at 11 am that Saturday morning. I grabbed my standby bag and put Bianca in a carrier. When I looked around for Thunder, he had vanished. Forty minutes of manic-depressive searching later, he still hadn’t appeared. I put a big plate of dry food on the kitchen counter, set a small dish of canned food on the floor, and prayed that the water would go down soon.
And it did, probably within four hours of my departure. My parents welcomed me, but I went back to check on Thunder the next day when the water had receded and the roads were open.
Well, you may be thinking, that’s nothing compared to the people who couldn’t get out in time (like my brother and two nephews, who were rescued by a state police boat) or to those whose houses were totally ruined and who may still be living in shelters. And you would be right. Eleven years ago the experience of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans was more traumatic, when evacuees were forcibly separated from their pets and sometimes from other family members. And the people who worked tirelessly to help, from the National Guard to neighbors who had a boat or sheet-rock skills or extra supplies to donate.
Friedman’s well-supported essay argues that humans must take more care of the earth and all its residents, or we will lose it soon. I add that each of us must be prepared with an ark for the next disaster. Meanwhile, read Friedman, support Greenpeace and the World Wildlife Federation and your favorite save-the-earth organization, and get some more pet carriers.