DAYTON, OH (October 4, 2005) – Newlyweds Danielle Rastetter, DVM, and Steve Knick just returned from a dog of a honeymoon. Instead of taking a traditional tropical vacation, the couple spent four days caring for animals who were stranded in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina struck.
Dr. Rastetter, a staff veterinarian for the Society for the Improvement of Conditions for Stray Animals (SICSA) in Kettering, Ohio and Knick volunteered at a temporary shelter in Monroe, Louisiana being operated by United Animal Nations (UAN).
Just days after their September 25 wedding, Dr. Rastetter learned that UAN needed veterinarians at its temporary shelter, where volunteers with UAN’s Emergency Animal Rescue Service (EARS) were caring for 220 animals rescued from the flood-ravaged streets and homes of New Orleans. The next day, she and Knick, along with two veterinary technicians from SICSA, made the 14-hour ride in a rented recreational vehicle.
“We had donated to help Katrina victims, but that wasn’t enough,” Knick said. “This opportunity came up, so we decided to do something we both love.”
Knick undertook typical shelter duties – walking dogs, cleaning cages and being a self-described “popper scooper extraordinaire,” while Dr. Rastetter provided much-needed veterinary care for the animals, many of whom suffered from injuries and illness after being stranded for several weeks in New Orleans.
“We’ve seen some sad case but we’ve also seen some success stories,” Knick reported. “One Basset Hound with a back injury was able to stand up and walk one morning, and we all gave him a standing ovation.”
As for romance, the couple took what they could get. “The electricity went out one night, so we spent a wonderful evening in our camper in the dark,” Knick said.
Founded in 1987, UAN is the nation’s leading provider of emergency animal sheltering and disaster relief services and a key advocate for the critical needs of animals. The organization has been heavily involved in the animal relief efforts in the Gulf Coast since Hurricane Katrina hit late last month, having deployed more than 235 trained EARS volunteers to assist with the operation of three emergency animal shelters in Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas.
News editors and producers: Please include United Animal Nations (UAN), www.uan.org, in any round-up stories and reference lists detailing aid organizations and charities helping in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.