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Helping the least among us

The outpouring of contributions to the victims of Katrina from their fellow Americans is both unprecedented and laudable. Despite the disgraceful attempts by contemptible opportunists like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton to use this terrible tragedy to drive one more wedge between Americans, we see through them and past them; we are here to help our brothers and sisters regardless of their genesis. Look at those ubiquitous aerial photos of the devastation left in Katrina’s path and tell me who, among her many victims, rich or poor, black or white, is not worthy of our sympathy and support.

But least among them are those, who in their former lives gave the most comfort to those now displaced and hurting to a degree most of us will never ever approximate. And within their ranks of these left-behinds there is no such thing as being black, white, rich or poor; they are merely pets, cats, dogs, birds, whatever, but all unconditional friends to those who have, by necessity, left them behind.

When the authoritative call for evacuation comes, priorities must be established quickly and the exigencies of human survival may doom the fate of those who have been friends and companions for years. It’s quite frankly and quite tragically, a disaster-imposed Sophie’s Choice; we must, at great peril to our souls, decide who will flee with us and who will be abandoned to face alone the wrath of the storm and the terrible consequences of survival once the storm has passed.

So often, those left behind are those who have given to their masters undying devotion and unqualified love. And we leave them. We leave them alone to face what we are far more qualified to deal with, but will not and cannot face. Imagine for a moment the bewilderment they must feel when those who have provided for them all their lives suddenly depart and leave them to face the howling winds and rising waters that they cannot begin to comprehend. Imagine the terror they must feel.

I do not write this to be condemnatory nor accusatory but simply to make you pause and think when you’re writing those checks to various relief organizations. I would ask that you consider reserving some of your monetary support for those organizations that are now in the stricken areas doing whatever they can to save those least among us, who were truly left behind, those unfortunate and now starving cats, dogs, birds and other pets for whom life is no longer easy in the Big Easy.

Good Americans, please Google “Katrina Pet Relief” and contribute to the organizations you find there. The Humane Society website indicates they are in the disaster areas in strength and actively saving abandoned pets.

Help them.

Russ Vaughnh 9 09 05