Day-long Dog Event Recognizes Hurricane Katrina Rescues

June 21, 2011

In a playful romp across the San Lorenzo Park Benchlands on Saturday, more than 30 dogs rescued from Hurricane Katrina by the Santa Cruz SPCA were recognized during a commemorative parade.

The parade kicked off the first Dog Days of Summer 2010: Katrina Remembered event held five years after Operation Just Paws saved more than 100 cats and dogs from the hurricane-ravaged homes and shelters of Louisiana.

The Doris Day Animal Foundation, a nonprofit run by the 88-year-old actress, donated most of the money required to airlift the 100 dogs and cats -- about $24,000.

"It's so good to see them again because when they left us they were not in the greatest health," SPCA Executive Director Lisa Carter said. "They really filled out and their coats are nice and fluffy. I'm so grateful to the SPCA, all of the vendors, volunteers and staff. This is our first annual event and we made it happen together."

Throughout the day, nearly 400 people, families and their dogs enjoyed singing and howling contests, "doggie freestyle dancing" and a "Dressed to the K-9s" fashion show.

Filbert, a white chiweenie, and Joey, a black and brown Chihuahua mix, showed off their best dresses on the runway for as long as their attention span allowed.

"They'll never make it in the fashion world," said Sarah Mouth, their owner and a Bed and Biscuits employee. "We'll have to find a new career."

Mouth's Bed and Biscuits co-worker, Meghan Jenkins, was thrilled to see the Katrina rescues doing so well after she helped take care of them when they first arrived.

"The hard work was worth the time," Jenkins said. "All the animals were adopted and placed into new loving homes. It's so nice to see them again."

A few lucky dogs up for adoption through the SPCA also found homes by the end of the day and others were scheduled to be picked up later in the week.

"We're really the little shelter that could," Carter added.