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Hurricane Sandy Rescue Story: Faithful Friends
Every day for the past week, Randy Lerner been shuffling from the Red Cross shelter across the street from our emergency animal rescue center to visit his cat Maximilian. Like many Long Beach residents, Randy didn't evacuate the area at first, unaware of the power that super-storm Sandy held.
Randy recounts his story:
"I live across the street from the ocean, and I watched the heavy waves as they pounded the shoreline. Around 8PM the water breeched and hit the streets. I watched as the cars became Tonka toys; they were tossed about and then finally floated away like something a kid plays with in the bathtub. Max slept under the sheets and only came out to sit on my lap a few times. He was so scared. We were in total darkness."
Randy has faced many challenges in recent years, including a long battle with cancer. Max has been his steadfast companion all along the way. In fact, the last time Randy came back from an overnight stay at the hospital, Max refused to leave his side for over 24 hours.
"He just wrapped himself around me; he knew I wasn't feeling well," says Randy. "He knows when I'm coming home. He waits for the sound of the elevator. He'll cry until I open the door and he can wrap himself around my shoulders. I am all he has ever known."
The basement of Randy's apartment building is flooded, and there has been no heat or electricity for a week. Randy is concerned that, given the widespread devastation in the region, it will take a long time to get a good contractor to start repairing the damage.
After two days at his apartment, Randy made the decision to move Max into the emergency animal shelter at Mitchel Field.
Maximilian, a five-year-old seal point Siamese, has been with Randy since he was just eight weeks old. Randy visits Max often at the shelter, bringing him his favorite treat. "I was so happy when I found out about the North Shore Animal League emergency shelter," says Randy. "I can't imagine what I would do without him here."