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13 Years Later, Sam the Catahoula Remains by Her Side

Thirteen years ago on this day, Hurricane Katrina slammed the Gulf Coast and left communities destroyed. The devastation resulted in more than 1,800 deaths and caused an estimated $125 billion in damage.

In its aftermath, tens of thousands of pets were displaced. (The ASPCA estimated 250,000 pets died or were displaced.) Nationally recognized animal welfare organizations swooped in to help, as did a team from Riverside County Animal Services.

So many people evacuated their homes and a good number never came back. That resulted in animal control agencies and national groups with an abundance of homeless pets. All the dogs and cats saved needed re-homing, second chances. Pets were flown all across the country, landing in Southern California shelters, including Riverside County’sshelters.

A male, 1-year-old dog with cracked, glass eyes and a red-leopard coat was one of those dogs. The Catahoula mix certainly needed extra love. Inside his kennel, the pooch ripped and tore at his bedding. His stress level was high, but understandably so, considering he had been shipped thousands of miles from his owner and once comfortable home.

Riverside County registered veterinary technician Lori Stamp-Brown said she couldn’t help but feel sorry for the dog.She decided to foster him, only for a short period, just to give him a more pleasant setting. As time passed, however, Ms. Stamp-Brown could not resist the dog’s charm.

There was an extended holding period all U.S. animal shelters abided by for the Hurricane Katrina-displaced pets. The long holding period was established to give rightful owners a chance to redeem their pet. In fact, some pets inRiverside County’s care actually made happy-reunion trips back to their owners. But no one ever claimed the dog with the sweet face. She made him her permanent pet and named him Samuel and, sometimes, Sammy Boy.

“He may be one of the oldest, surviving members from Hurricane Katrina’s wrath,” said Stamp-Brown, who takes Sammy Boy to work every day. “Of course, there’s no way of knowing for sure, but at age 14, he’s definitely getting up there.”

She said Sammy Boy loves his morning walks, sleeping on the couch and playing with his younger, four-legged sister, Shiloh. And, did we mention that he loves long naps? Yes, he’s a big napper.

“If Samuel could talk, we are sure he would have a tale to tell from his time in Louisiana,” Stamp-Brown said. “He is loved beyond measure. We are honored to be his pet parents. And, since he’s now 14 years old, every day is a gift.”

Contact a Shelter

Western Riverside: (951) 358-7387 (PETS)
San Jacinto: (951) 358-7387
Coachella Valley: (760) 343-3644
Blythe: (760) 921-7857

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