Salt Lake City, UT (PRWEB) September 14, 2005
An outpouring of humanity for those affected by Hurricane Katrina has come from around the world. But an unlikely champion Â a non-human one Â has inspired a rescue mission that will see hundreds of animals relocated from the Gulf Coast disaster area into homes of new, loving pet owners.
Buddy, a male poodle, has become the focal point for donations to No More Homeless Pets in Utah in Salt Lake City. BuddyÂs owner, Arthur Benjamin, pledged to adopt a dog left homeless in KatrinaÂs wake to encourage donors to fund a rescue mission led by No More Homeless Pets in Utah.
Benjamin, who is a board member of the no-kill pet adoption coalition, has raised more than $15,000 worth of food and monetary offerings to cover the operation that launched this week. His business colleagues gave generously in memory of his wife Gail, who passed away this year. Buddy was GailÂs therapy dog during her three-year bout with breast cancer.
ÂIf Gail were here, this is something that she would do,Â Benjamin said.
On Sept. 8, five vans loaded with volunteers and supplies departed Utah for San Antonio, Texas, where countless animals displaced by Katrina have been sent. The supplies were donated by PETCO and other organizations, such as Summit County Friends of Animals. The vans will return to Salt Lake City early this week bearing as many dogs and cats as they can accommodate.
No More Homeless Pets in Utah experienced an onslaught of support for the Katrina rescue mission from volunteers, friends and supporters. Together with adoptions coming in through their web site, more than $20,000 has been raised for pets stranded in KatrinaÂs aftermath.
The animals saved in the effort will be featured in a Âsuper adoptionÂ Â an annual event sponsored by PETsMART where 500-600 animals are adopted by new owners.
ÂOnly the animals known not to be owned are being put up for adoption,Â Benjamin said. ÂThe San Antonio shelters are overwhelmed. They canÂt find homes for them fast enough because as fast as the animals are adopted, there are more arriving.Â
A dog lover who has adopted five animals with diseases or other illnesses, Benjamin adopted Buddy from a shelter when he was six months old. He characterized Buddy as the Âalpha maleÂ who runs the household, even though he shares it with a 100-pound Labrador Retriever. Since GailÂs passing, Buddy has not been short on energy Â just affection.
BenjaminÂs position as President and CEO of ATI Enterprises, Inc., provided him with extensive contacts in the business and education worlds who were willing to donate. He said he decided to get involved in Katrina relief efforts after seeing news footage of an abandoned pet that was not allowed onto a school bus evacuating New Orleans residents.
ÂThere was a shot of this dog who looked a lot like Buddy jumping at the school bus as it drove away,Â Benjamin said. ÂThey left it in the street. I saw that and said, ÂLetÂs do something about this.ÂÂ
For more information about the pet rescue mission or Buddy, contact Gregory Castle, President, No More Homeless Pets in Utah, 801-557-4052. No More Homeless Pets will be accepting donations to rescue animals abandoned in the disaster through its web site, utahpets.org.
Contact: Gregory Castle, President, No More Homeless Pets in Utah