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The Beat of Gaia's Heart

One small step

The horrors of the Gulf oil spill daily grow worse. People losing jobs; a boat captain reportedly committing suicide in despair; sea creatures and birds coated with oil; cleanup workers getting sick. The pictures are graphic and tragic.

There's another toll that's rising every day. In addition to the coastal and sea creatures dying from oil as rescue workers struggle to save as many as possible, animal shelters are filling up with domestic pets as people can no longer afford to keep them. Fishermen, hotel staff, restaurant workers, operators of tourist excursions -- they've lost their livelihoods and now they're losing their family pets.

Animal Rescue New Orleans (ARNO) is helping as best it can. It was founded in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and continues to do amazing work in and around New Orleans, and right now it's being overwhelmed with the number of dogs and cats being surrendered because their owners can no longer afford to feed or care for them.

If you've been looking for something to do to help, here's one way. Donate to ARNO. Adopt one of their many companion animals -- a dog or cat that goes to live with you makes room for another dog or cat to be rescued. Foster, if you can. Sponsor, if you can. ARNO has a program called the Pet Retention Program that covers expenses for people who can't afford to keep their pets. The program means that the family who has already lost so much doesn't have to lose its beloved dog or cat too. Pet Retention pays the bills for the animal's food, vet care, transport to and from the vet, and even provides a carrier so that if worse comes to worst the family can evacuate with the pet. Families get caseworkers, so that care can be ongoing and even the human members of the family get help.

If you can adopt, take one of these little lost souls into your home. If you can donate, help ARNO keep up its essential work. If you can sponsor a pet through Pet Retention -- it's easy; you can do it through PayPal -- you can keep an animal with the people who love it and cut down on the amount of tragedy in one family's life. Go to and see what you can do to help.
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