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Point & Click

When George Janssen, his family and their black Lab Eli evacuated their Memphis Street house in New Orleans before Hurricane Katrina hit, they left most of their possessions and their 15-year-old cat, Goose. The Janssens were used to bad storms, and they thought this one would be like many of the others they had experienced. Theyd pack up, evacuate and come back home a couple days later to find some downed trees and maybe a broken window or two, but not much else.Just in case things got out of hand, though, George decided to store his canoe in his living room. He didnt want it to blow away or get damaged outside while he was gone. With the storm on its way, and Goose AWOL, the Janssens regrettably got in one of their vehicles and left. They had to get out. The storm was coming. And Goose was nowhere to be found. Of course, we all know what happened next, and it happened hard to the Janssens. Their house in New Orleans Lakeview neighborhood was decimated by Katrina. The water line on the house was nearly to the top of the first floor ceiling. A giant pine tree had crashed into the house during the storm, crushing the second story. As soon as the storm passed, George headed back home. He borrowed a friends boat and took it across Lake Pontchartrain, and then weaved in and out of the water-filled streets of his neighborhood filled with an acrid, foul-smelling stench. He needed to find Goose. He didnt think hed find her alive.Somehow, he made his way into his destroyed house, heartbroken. But there, sitting in the canoe and meowing up a storm, was Goose. George said the cat sprung from the canoe into his arms in one flying leap. My husband Erik spent three weeks in the New Orleans area rescuing dogs and cats just because he knows what its like to love another creature. I spent the last week with him in New Orleans. We found Eli, George Janssens black Lab, after the dog escaped from a friends house and got hit by a car (but thats a whole other story). When we reunited George and Eli, this big, warm Southern gentleman cried. And then he told us the story of Goose. George Janssen is just one man affected by Hurricane Katrina. There are thousands and thousands more families, each with their own stories, their own loss, and their own joy. Ive taken plenty of exotic vacations in my life, but my trip to New Orleans was the most significant adventure of my life. Carrie Click is the editor and general manager of The Citizen Telegram in Rifle. If youre interested in helping with rescued Katrina animals, go to http://www.petfinder.com.


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