2012 October 2
Geneseo, IL to Baton Rouge, LA
It's an inspiration when so many people work together to bring about a miracle like this one. The victim was "Miss T'Chen", a young female 40-lb rat terrier who lived in Baton Rouge, Louisiana with her human father Fred who adores her and two big strapping young canine boys (black lab mixes) who worship her as their matriarch. She went out the front door of their home after dark just as the heavy rains of Hurricane Isaac hit the front yard in full fury, and in the confusion and flooding, she could not find her way back home. Most people had evacuated the area, and it was impossible for Fred to search for her during the hurricane. Some time later the next day, a flood rescue worker in the area found her. With no power or phone service and many roads closed, there was no place open where the kind man could take her, so he opted to take her home with him in his truck -- all the way to Geneseo, Illinois, some 800 miles north! There she received the best of tender loving care from the folks at Henry County Animal Shelter, as they searched the web and Facebook and by all other means they could think of to find her home.
Meanwhile, Miss T'Chen's daddy Fred was desperate. How regrettable that he had not had an ID chip implanted in her! He reported her missing to the local animal shelter, and they uploaded her picture and description to a Facebook page of dogs missing from Hurricane Isaac. The folks at Geneseo spotted this and recognized her, and they made the connection to Fred. That was about two weeks after Isaac. After the relief of knowing she was alive and well (but 800 miles away), now the challenge was how to get Miss T'Chen home!
They decided to ask On Wings Of Care to give her a quick and comfortable flight back home, and we agreed. The story pulled on our hearts, having been victims of Hurricane Isaac ourselves! We asked them to help us raise funds to cover the aircraft fuel, and we would find a way to cover the rest of our costs to make this happen. We planned the flight for late September. As the Universe so often works, about a week later we received a request to transport "Skip", an English Shepherd in need of rescue to a foster home in Indianapolis (Skip's story is here.) So it looked like we could fly Skip north and bring Miss T'Chen home in one quick two-day trip, and then get back to work to be able to pay for it!
Come that last weekend of September, Mother Nature had different plans. Brutal flying weather with heavy rains and embedded thunderstorms covered our route for days with no end in sight until early October. The dogs couldn't wait, our work needed us back home, we had to find another way. So our air transport became a road trip -- one that was lovely for the dogs, lovely but somewhat arduous for us (we did it in three days and three overnights), and the happy reunion for Miss T'Chen made it all worthwhile.
The photos above show us all just as we arrived at her home in Baton Rouge, when her daddy Fred came to our car to greet her. More photos are in the gallery below. (Our senior dogs Ford and Tilly came along for this trip; they're in these photos, too.) Here too are videos of the trip -- our leaving New Orleans to start the trip, our retrieving Miss T'Chen from the Geneseo Animal Shelter, and of course the wonderful reunion with Fred in Baton Rouge.
Several local Baton Route newspapers and TV stations ran stories about the reunion. Miss T'Chen was clearly very very happy to be home with her daddy and big brothers! Our kudos go to all who helped, and most especially the extremely kind, generous, and dedicated people at the Animal Shelter in Geneseo, Illinois. Their facility, modest as it is, was clean and filled with very healthy, happy animals being saved, cared for, and on their way to happy adoptive homes. We were most impressed by that shelter and all that they do for the animals there.