A dog that survived Katrina's floodwaters only to be shipped several states away, and end up at the center of a court battle, is finally back in the arms of its owner. The pup's journey took it from Chalmette to Phoenix, Arizona. And with the legal wrangling now resolved, the dog hopped a flight to Baton Rouge, where a reunion that was 19 months in the making finally unfolded.
Paula Duming says, "Look at my boy. He knows me. I love it." Life wasn't always this sweet for Paula Duming. She spent the last year and a half looking, then fighting in court, to get her dog, Pablo back. He was one of thousands of dogs separated from his owner during Hurricane Katrina. Duming says, "I felt depressed, sad, worrying, wondering if I'd ever get him back."
Pablo made quite the journey. Best Friends Animal Society rescued him from his home in Chalmette and took him to Arizona, where he was put up for adoption. Ironically, Duming found Pablo while looking for a new pup. She says, "I went to Carencro to adopt a dog and they said, 'No,' because I didn't have a fence. The girl gets on the computer and up popped Pablo."
But, by the time she got that fence built, Pablo had already been adopted by Lee Kotinas, who later learned she was raising someone else's dog. But she says she got so attached that she just couldn't let him go, even after a judge told her she had to. Kotinas says, "The trauma of this little dog, what he went through, his feelings were never addressed."
Duming says, "I believed they love Pablo very much. I just love him more." Duming is taking Pablo to her new home in Lafayette, where he'll be living in special quarters. "From what I hear, a lion can't even get out of this kennel. So, as far as being outside, I don't have to sit and watch him," Duming says. Well, she says she just may do that, just for a little while. Duming says, "He is too cute."
Pablo is one of 6,000 dogs rescued in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.