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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.






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