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Treading Water


When Katrina hit, Tina Reynolds and Andrew Kenworthy were out of town. Their house-sitter evacuated, leaving behind their Dalmatians Pearl and Bones and foster Dalmatian-mix, Spec. Fifteen days later, the entire family was miraculously reunited, and everyone moved to an apartment in Houston. Their Uptown home did not flood, so Reynolds returned with the dogs in mid-October 2005 (Kenworthy stayed in Houston for his relocated job). In January 2006, Spec was adopted by a family in Gretna, La., who adored him and appreciated everything Reynolds and Kenworthy went through to save his life. Sadly, one month later, the couple’s beloved six-year-old Pearl, their first foster for Crescent City Rescue, was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect; she passed away in July 2006. Just before Pearl died, Reynolds and Kenworthy took in a young foster Dalmatian, Oliver. He and Bones bonded so strongly that the couple wound up adopting Oliver and have since opened their arms to another foster Dalmatian, Chase. They’re happy to have a three-dog household again.


James Mercadel, who is blind, rode out the storm in the attic of his 7th Ward home with his leader dog, Jake, and mixed-breed Gressive. A neighbor rescued him by boat and promised to return for the dogs, but didn’t. Mercadel ended up at the Astrodome and asked for help saving his dogs. More than a week later, Jake was found at the house and reunited with Mercadel. In October 2005, a Michigan humane society called to say they had Gressive, and arranged for her to come back to Mercadel. Soon thereafter, his Texas hosts, Shelly and Allen Thornton, helped him move to Independence Hall, a home for people with disabilities. Unfortunately, the stress of being in a new environment and the trauma of Katrina greatly affected Gressive, and she was not getting along with Jake. Mercadel made a difficult decision and gave Gressive to a good friend. Now, she and Jake are both much happier. He plans to stay in Houston, where he has made many new friends.





This article first appeared in The Bark,
Issue 39: Nov/Dec 2006

Julia Kamysz Lane, owner of Spot On K9 Sports and contributing editor at The Bark, is the author of multiple New Orleans travel guides, including Frommer’s New Orleans Day by Day (3rd Edition). Her work has also appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Poets and Writers and Publishers Weekly.


Photograph by Carol Guzy

CommentsPost a Comment
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Submitted by Karen Peckham | February 16 2010 |

A Canadian dog lover and owner of a precious golden retriever, it is unimaginable to me what happened after Katrina to make this disaster even more devastating for pets and owners who thought of their animals as lone companions, best friends, and even family members as our Hudson is, too. I would hope and pray such a system was in place that if dog or child, ALIKE, were ever misplaced, I would have a BETTER chance of reuniting with them than government or rescuers made possible for victims in this sad circumstance. Malvin Cavalier was truly BLESSED to have a shining light, like Sandra Bauer, advocating for him and Bandit... GOD BLESS HER!

Submitted by Pete Milliet | April 26 2010 |

I was wondering if you could help me out. I am trying to get in touch with Sandra Bauer from Ontario Canada. I recently saw her on a video called "Mine". I just want to drop her an email and tell her what a wonderful job she did reuniting Bandit back to his owner Malvin from News Orleans. Keep up the great work. We need more people like you & SV to help our PETS!!!! Thanks....

Submitted by Lisa Wogan | April 26 2010 |

Try contacting her through the film's website at http://www.minethemovie.com/contact-us/ I'm sure she'd love to hear supportive comments.

Submitted by Travis Seek | August 30 2010 |

I just ran across this story. I was the Crew Chief in this flight. Wha a great event, we got to help out a family and even though they were almost ready to go with out there beloved dogs. Me and my junior crewman were not going to let that happen. We just had one thuht in our minds, " what if is was our pets! " Hope this family is doing good and enjoying there pets. One of my greatest memories!


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