Volunteers rescue 40 pets in hurricane-ravaged area

It’s a happy ending for 40 cats and dogs of the ravaged Hurricane Katrina area, who at one time had a very dim future.

Thanks to two volunteers of the Bremerton-based Animal Rescue Families, who returned from their seven-day trek last Saturday, 24 dogs and 16 cats will soon find happy, warm homes. One of those dogs, China, a shih tzu-mix has already found a home with a relative of a family in Louisiana who asked Animal Rescue Families to pick up the dog and bring it to Tacoma.

“(China) is doing really well there, (the family’s relative) was very happy to see China,” said volunteer Jennifer Havekost.

Having driven a total of 5,800 miles, the volunteers returned last Saturday evening with a cargo van full of crates containing the furry four-legged evacuees.

“When we opened up the doors and saw all those faces looking at us, it just touched my heart,” said Elia Ginn, director of Animal Rescue Families who coordinated the trip. “It’s a feeling that I’ve never felt before.”

Included in the bunch was a Siamese cat with a litter of six kittens. Many of the rescued dogs are thin and will need to be nourished back to health.

“Nine of the dogs have really bad skin infections from being in contact with the water,” Ginn said.

Upon returning, all of the animals were boarded at two local animal hospitals, Relling Small Animal Hospital and Alder Trail Hospital, and have been or will be tested for heartworm, vaccinated and will be spayed or neutered in the near future.

“The easy part was going down there, the hardest part is going to be getting them back to health,” Havekost said.

While in Louisiana the volunteers visited three animal shelters, but before picking up any of the animals they dropped off needed supplies. All of the supplies they took down with

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