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Wednesday, August 30, 2006 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Hurricane Katrina | The lucky ones

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Pasado's Safe Haven: www.pasadosafehaven.org; 360-793-9393.

Pasado's Safe Haven, an animal-welfare group based in Sultan, rescued 1,200 animals from the Gulf Coast. Some were reunited with their owners; others went on to new families that nursed them back to health. Some 250 of these pets (probably many more) now live in Washington.

Mohawk finally has fur. Lucky is a little more trusting. Cajun is potty-trained (cross your fingers). And Tuna the cat, well, he turned out to be a klutz. A year ago these animals were found along with thousands of others swimming in the streets, standing on rooftops, locked inside homes or tied up in backyards in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Here's how they're doing today.

Desi, 1, pit bull

Then: Desi was starving and dehydrated when he was found curled up in a sink, locked into an oval position. Mark Steinway, Pasado's co-founder, awoke that first night to find the puppy lying in a pool of black liquid. "It looked like he had oozed the entire contents of his little body out onto the floor."

Now: It took hourly feedings and fluid therapy to bring Desi back, but he's made a full recovery. "He is so full of spit and vinegar," Steinway says, "and sooooo strong!" Desi lives with Laws and Maddie in Monroe. Among his favorite sports: playing in water.

Maddie, 6, mixed breed

Then: Rescuers found Maddie chained up in the kitchen of a New Orleans house with six puppies and a large bag of dog food — which was out of reach. The puppies were healthy, but Maddie was near death, unable to lift her head or walk.

Now: She avoids small bathrooms or kitchens, but otherwise she's recovered from the trauma. She lives on 11 acres in Monroe with new owner, Rita Laws, and two cows, three chickens, two cats, a llama and fellow Katrina rescue dog, Desi. "They sleep in bed with me," Laws says.

Lucky, about 2, Shiba Inu/cattle dog

Then: Lucky was perched on the top shelf of a dark closet when police found him two weeks after the storm. Skinny and frightened, he bit, screeched and snarled during the 45 minutes it took rescuers to coax him down. "We had yellow caution tape on his kennel," says Larry Brothers, who nonetheless developed a soft spot for the tough dog.

Now: After attending obedience school, Lucky lives with Brothers on 2-½ acres in Bothell. "He's learned that people aren't out to hurt him. He loves to play and is an incredibly sweet, affectionate boy who sticks to me like glue." Still, Brothers says, "I pity the errant burglar who tries to sneak into his house."

Tuna and Louis, about 1

Then: They were 4-week-old kittens when someone heard them mewling beneath a house in St. Bernard Parish. A city worker tried to entice them by waving an open can of tuna (hence the name). They were thirsty, hungry and flea-infested, but healthy enough for rescuer Brad Crauer to fly with them back to Seattle.

Now: "Both are well-adjusted and normal. Louis is the bold big brother who loves water and is very adventurous," says Crauer, who adopted the cats. "Tuna is his half-witted sidekick who can't quite do all the things his big brother can without falling."

Mohawk, 1-½, Chow Chow/Australian shepherd

Then: He was found wandering near the Mississippi River, suffering from mange, which led rescuers to believe he was a stray before Katrina. "He was a sight," says rescuer Cammie Owen. "He was almost completely bald, yet he had an expression that said he was such a sweetheart."

Now: His mange cured, he lives with Owen in Seattle, where he's shed his shyness. "He goes to the off-leash parks with his pack several days a week," Owen says. "I think he looks like the happiest dog I've ever seen."

Cajun, about 2,

possibly Dogo Argentino

Then: Cajun was found wandering the streets of New Orleans, and suffering from liver failure and heartworm. He won the affection of rescuer and veterinarian Dana Bridges, in part because he would get so excited he'd pee on her shoe.

Now: Cajun has gained 50 pounds (that's just what he's gained) and curbed his excited peeing. He lives with Bridges on a farm in Monroe. Bridges posted his profile on Petfinder.com, but no one has come forward to claim him. "And," she says, "I hope nobody does. I love this dog."

Copyright © 2006 The Seattle Times Company

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