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Veterinary Forum November 2007 (Vol 24, No 11)

Editor's Note: Making a difference, big and small

by Marie Rosenthal

    Two years after Hurricane Katrina, thousands of people along the Gulf Coast are still not in their homes, so it should be no surprise that some of the animal shelters aren't up to snuff either.

    I realize that recovering from such a devastating storm takes time, but I think there is something fundamentally wrong when we can't help our own. I'm not really sure whether Americans stopped caring about other Americans, but I think the selfless, can-do attitude that I associated with this country while growing up has been eroding for quite awhile.

    If you recall the aftermath of the storm, there was a great deal of finger-pointing among local and federal officials about who didn't do and who should have done, as people and animals floundered on rooftops and in the Super­dome and convention center.

    According to a recent CNN report, $96 billion has been made available to rebuild the area, and the feds blamed the local officials for the slow recovery. Local officials, on the other hand, continue to blame the federal government, so the finger-pointing hasn't stopped.

    That's too bad, because talk is cheap.

    Actions, on the other hand, speak volumes, which is why I want to give a great big gold star to the folks at the Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Society (VECCS), its newly formed foundation VECCF and the Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine, who rolled up their sleeves to help the St. Bernard Parish Animal Shelter in Chalmette, La. (See the story.)

    They could have spent their time before the annual International Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Symposium last month eating beignets with café au lait and catching up with their friends.

    Instead, they scrubbed the filth off the walls and floors of the St. Bernard Parish shelter and built a surgical suite so that LSU veterinary students could care for the animals in the shelter. LSU is planning another project in St. Bernard Parish next summer and is looking for donations and volunteers, Dr. Susan Eddlestone of LSU told me. I don't have any details yet, but if you want more information, send me an email and I will forward it to the correct person.

    A CNN/Opinion Research poll found that most Americans are not very optimistic that the area will recover from Hurricane Katrina: Of 1,029 adults polled, 55% said they don't think New Orleans will ever recover completely.

    I hope they are wrong.

    Marie Rosenthal, MS

    Executive Editor

    NEXT: Equipment Upgrades: Big Questions for Small Budgets