Eight years ago when hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans thousands of people were left stranded in flooded areas. The hurricane killed 1,833 people, displacing thousands. Among those displaced were 6,000 pets.
One of those pets is now 13-year-old beagle named Katrina. This particular beagle brought joy to rescuers while they faced the hurricane’s massive destruction.
Katrina was found on the Interstate 10 overpass east of the city along many survivors. While an HH-60 Pave Hawk crew descended on the overpass to rescue evacuees, Katrina would happily run up to the helicopter to welcome the heroes.
“We’d land and she’d run up, tail wagging, this big smile on her face,” 301st’s Maj. Mike Brasher told Marine Corps Times. “She’d just run into this 60-mile-an-hour rotor wash like it was no big deal.”
As the service men rescued people, Katrina tagged along brightening their mission, but on one of the last helicopters run a male evacuee kicked the dog. The soldiers were not happy with the man’s actions and advised him to stop.
“The PJ [pararescue jumpers] told the man if he kicked at the dog one more time, we, including [Katrina,] would be getting back on the helicopter and not come back,” said Brasher. “Immediately, three ladies started hitting this man and told him he had better stop kicking the dog.”
When rescuers finished evacuating everyone on the overpass they realized the canine did not belong to anyone. The heroes decided to bring Katrina with them and hand her off to ground personnel.
From there, Katrina was transported to different states and rescue organizations until she landed on her retirement forever home in Orlando, Florida.
Brasher and his crew have never forgotten Katrina. They always reminisce on the joy this innocent dog brought them during Hurricane Katrina’s devastating aftermath. Katrina the dog is now the mascot of the 920th Rescue Wing, Patrick Air Force Base.
Read the full story to learn how the beagle has inspired service men since she was rescued.