Hooray! He went home with his real mom!!
Pablo Goes Home
March 16, 2007 : 6:30 PM ET
Pablo's Verdict: Firsthand Account >>
Judge orders fosters to return Katrina dog >>
Katrina dog goes to court >>
ON THE NETWORK
New Orleans.BestFriends.org >>
The most famous dog in the United States went home Friday after traveling nearly halfway across the country and enduring newspaper, radio and television journalists much of the way.
An Arizona judge on Wednesday awarded custody of Pablo to his person, Paula Duming, after they were separated during Hurricane Katrina. A San Diego couple had refused to surrender the two-year-old terrier mix that was wrongly adopted from a foster organization.
Best Friends, which rescued the dog and represented Paula in court, transported Pablo from Phoenix to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, for a reunion on the steps of the state capitol building.
When Paula arrived mid-morning, she was greeted by two television news camera crews, according to Best Friends general counsel Russ Mead.
“I arrived shortly thereafter with Pablo, and he ran up the steps to Paula,” said Mead, who escorted the dog from Arizona. “Paula had a lot microphones shoved in her face, and handled it well, and Pablo seemed quite content with it all.
“Next, we all headed to her place in Lafayette,” said Russ, “where Inside Edition will continue to follow the story. They seem to like car shots of Pablo with his head looking out the window”
A Best Friends volunteer was to meet them at Paula’s house to help put up portable fencing, while the camera crew would continue to get more exclusive/intimate shots. It was being determined whether the crew would head over to Paula's old house – which was flooded during Katrina – if it’s still standing or accessible.
The reunion came 559 days after they were separated.
Paula, who is 58 and disabled, had made her way to her roof September 9 when she was airlifted to safety. She was not allowed to take Pablo with her. She had gotten the puppy on Christmas Eve 2004 when he was several weeks old. She named him after her father.
Paula testified she and a neighbor were stranded without food or water, but grabbed an American flag and waved it at a nearby helicopter until they got the pilot’s attention.
She said she pleaded to be allowed to take Pablo, but was turned down.
Several days later, Best Friends’ workers were able to rescue Pablo – one of more than 6,000 Katrina pets the organization saved – and then placed him with a foster organization, the Animal Benefit Club of Arizona (ABCA).
ABCA placed him with Dustin Jones and Wendy Shieh in violation of an agreement it had with Best Friends.
About three months later, with the help of Best Friends volunteer Wendy Roberts, Paula was able to locate Pablo and ask the couple to return him.
They refused, claiming that their dog “Boots” was not Pablo.
However, based on overwhelming evidence at trial March 12, the judge ruled the following day that the dog they had was indeed Pablo.
The case has been getting national attention, including the front page of USA Today, and there were several television news vans outside the courthouse. Meanwhile, Best Friends has been fielding inquiries from broadcast news shows, and the organization’s web site is getting heavy traffic to the story.
Between leaving Arizona and meeting up with Paula, Mead and Pablo were photographed for local newspapers, while Mead was interviewed on local television shows and by radio stations in Louisiana.
Pablo handled the attention as well as could be expected although he lost his appetite for a while, a perfectly understandable reaction from any intelligent being who is forced to deal with so many members of the media.
The following message was contained in an email update from Mead on Thursday night.
“Good news. Pablo is finally eating. He slept curled next to me last night though he did not eat at all yesterday or today before now. The bad news is he only wants to eat my burrito, and not the top end dry food or canned food I purchased for him. But I have had a lifetime of eating well and Pablo has had a tough couple of days, so I will make up for the lost meal tomorrow night when he is safe in Paula’s arms.”
Bon appetit Pablo! Bon appetit!
Saturday, March 17, 2007
Hooray! He went home with his real mom!!
Typed by The Mom, but dictated by Jennifer Madsen at 7:58:00 AM