Improbable reunion for Katrina canine |

Improbable reunion for Katrina canine

Andrew Pridgen
Nevada Appeal News Service
Emma Garrard/Nevada Appeal News Service Savannah, who was evacuated to Incline Village after Hurricane Katrina, returned home to Louisiana on Friday, after her owners identified her online.

She’s finally home.

“Savannah”, the tawny-haired shepherd mix left homeless in the wake of Hurricane Katrina experienced a journey that took her from Louisiana to Houston to San Francisco to Marin County to Sacramento and finally (deep breath) to Incline Village’s Pet Network.

Friday, she boarded a plane in Reno headed for Louisiana.

“Yes, she’s come so far and is such a sweet girl through it all,” said adoption manager Susan Paul. “The staff here was elated when we found her home.

“But with that comes a little bit of sadness.”

“Savannah” as it turns out is really named “Brandy” and her real home is Metairie, Louisiana.

Pet Network volunteers, upon receiving seven Katrina kittens and three dogs on Oct. 10, immediately began posting the dogs’ images on Paul said.

They waited for a response – but none came.

“By the time (the animals) arrived here they had been on a long journey,” Paul said. “The chances of reuniting any were slim.”

Paul explained most estranged pet owners could not post pictures of their pets because, quite simply, they hadn’t any mementos in the wake of the storm’s devastation.

Some desperate owners posted detailed descriptions others waited patiently with little hope, Paul said.

“She was such a sweet girl we knew she would find a home,” Paul noted.

And she did.

A call came to Pet Network two weeks ago, the man on the line said he saw the picture of “Brandy” online. He was “90 percent sure the dog was his,” Paul said.

Pet Network volunteers set up a webcam so Brandy’s family could take a closer look; although they still weren’t 100 percent sure, Paul said.

Then, a call was placed. Over speakerphone Brandy’s family called her name.

“She went running from across the room,” Paul said. “And that was it.”

Pet Network, through recent donations, was able to pay for Brandy’s trip back home, where she will be able to “mend fences” with her family one volunteer said.

“Apparently the fence in Brandy’s yard blew down as the storm began,” Paul said. “Brandy got scared and fled. A neighbor, in the wake of the storm, reported spotting Brandy being picked up by animal rescue services and that was the last her family thought they’d see of her.

“We’re sad to see her go, but what a happy story.”

While the Katrina kittens have all been adopted, two other Katrina dogs, Okra and Gumbo, still seek homes.

The two are available for foster care and will soon be cleared for adoption, volunteers said.

“These are special animals – and to reunite one with a family, we hope that brings back some normalcy to their home,” said Pet Network executive director Steve Ricker. “One has had a happy ending… so far.”