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Hurricane Katrina Reunion: Sadie Mae Reunited With Her Mom

After a month away from my home in Chalmette, Louisiana, I really believed that my Sadie was dead and I’ve felt so lost without her. She’s been my companion through thick and thin for the past two years, and my heart has been broken for weeks now. To hear from North Shore Animal League America that Sadie Mae is alive and that I will be with her again is a miracle — a weight has been lifted and I feel like I can begin to move on from all that I lost.”

Like so many thousands of others unable to seek shelter with their pets during Hurricane Katrina, Cindy Gondolfo made the painstaking decision to evacuate without Sadie Mae, her beloved two-year old French Bulldog. She left her with plenty of food and water, expecting to be back at home within a day or two.

It’s hard to imagine how frightened Sadie Mae must have been when the ferocious storm devastated their home, tossing appliances and leaving three inches of oily sludge behind from a leak at a nearby refinery. The small dog survived by sitting on top of the refrigerator as it floated in water that rose as high as 5 feet inside the home.

Sadie Mae was rescued from her home on September 19th and brought to a temporary staging area in Gonzales, Louisiana. The staging area was becoming overcrowded and for Sadie Mae’s health and safety she needed to be moved to a more stable location. The decision was made to transport her to the League two days before Hurricane Rita was predicted to make landfall.

Along with 219 other animals, Sadie Mae was part of two unprecedented airlifts of rescued animals from Louisiana and Texas to the safety of North Shore Animal League America.

When Sadie Mae arrived a League associate noticed the identification tags that Cindy had placed on her collar and had been undetected at the overwhelmed staging facility. The importance of identification tags for pets is just one example of responsible pet guardianship – one that was certainly about to pay off for Cindy and Sadie Mae.

The League immediately went to work to contact Cindy and reunite the pair. We flew Cindy and her son to New York and they were reunited live on “Weekend Today” on NBC on Sunday, October 2nd.

It was the happiest of endings for a true survivor and her best friend.

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