Dog to reunite with Hurricane Katrina survivors

When a scruffy white Poodle mix was found wandering down a road in Cabarrus County, N.C., his rescuers never could have imagined the little dog’s origins. The lost pooch was brought to the Cabarrus Animal Hospital, where he was looked over and scanned for a microchip. When the results came back, hospital staff couldn’t believe what they discovered.

“We traced the dog to Louisiana and thank goodness the gentleman did not change his cell phone number,” Cabarrus Animal Hospital receptionist Brenda Tortoreo told Carolina News 14.

Shorty’s previous owner, Ron Jackson, was floored when he got the news that the dog was still alive. According to CharlotteObserver.com, Jackson adopted Shorty in November 2006. He and his family had survived Hurricane Katrina and wanted to offer Shorty a good home after they’d put their lives back together.

But two short years later, as Hurricane Gustav tore towards the Gulf Coast and Jackson’s family took shelter in Charlotte, N.C., Ron Jackson faced the heartbreaking decision to give Shorty up for adoption. In the aftermath of another devastating storm, he knew that he wouldn’t be able to give Shorty the good life that the little dog deserved.

“We’d just put things back together after Katrina,” Jackson told CharlotteObserver.com of the choice to put Shorty up for adoption. “It was hard.”

Shorty was eventually adopted by Ta’layza Miller and her grandmother, Oclisha Miller. Shorty broke out of the Miller’s yard September 10, and the Millers had seen no sign of the little Poodle — until Ta’layza spotted Shorty on a WCNC News story about a family who had to give Shorty up after living through two devastating hurricanes. Ta’layza knew what she had to do.

“I do want him back,” Ta’layza told WCNC of Shorty, “but since they lost everything in Hurricane Katrina and they lost him…I wouldn’t mind them keeping him or anything because it was their dog first.”

Brenda Tortoreo and the rest of the Cabarras Animal Hospital staff is thrilled that Shorty will get the chance to live out the rest of his days with his original family.

“It was hard enough for them to get through Katrina, let alone trying to provide for their dog,” Tortoreo said of the Jackson family, “and they felt and they still do, felt they did the right thing by finding him a proper home.”

“He did tell me whether he lives on this earth for three months or three years, they would love to have him back,” Tortoreo added.

Before Shorty returns to the family he hasn’t seen since 2008, Dr. Blake Purefoy says that he wants to make sure that Shorty’s health issues have been taken care of. When Shorty was found and brought to Dr. Purefoy’s clinic, the white Poodle mix was found with a severely matted coat, an eye infection, serious oral disease, and a heart murmur. Purefoy will treat Shorty’s ailments free of charge.

“I don’t want to add additional hardship to them,” Dr. Purefoy says, “because if anyone were to have this dog with its heart condition and the condition his mouth is in, it’s like saying, ‘Here. Here’s your sick dog back and you’ve got $2,000 worth of stuff to deal with.”

Dr. Purefoy estimates Shorty will need about two more weeks of medical treatment before he will be healthy enough to travel. Purefoy does say that a volunteer will be needed to transport Shorty back to Louisiana to reunite with his family.

Sources: Carolina News 14, CharlotteObserver.com, WCNC.com