Somehow it escaped my attention that President Bush signed, in October, a new federal PETS Law -- Pets Evacuation and Transportation, a law inspired by the heart-wrenching loss of companion animals after Hurricane Katrina. This past June, at the summer ALA convention in New Orleans, I was a guest of the ASPCA for the Henry Bergh Children's Book Awards (my picture book, Magnus at the Fire, won a Bergh). As part of the ASPCA group, I learned a great deal about pet rescue in the aftermath of the hurricane, and many Gulf Coast residents expressed their gratitude to the ASPCA staff members for the help they received with their animals. It was a really moving experience, and I am really glad to see that the federal government now recognizes the importance of companion animals to disaster victims. I know I couldn't abandon my animals at home.
After the awards ceremony for the Henry Bergh Awards there was an after-hours reception at the Audubon Zoo, where we learned about the zoo staff's efforts to save the zoo animals during and after the hurricane. Our special guest at the reception was one of the elephants, which we all got to pat and examine up close and personal. That was an ALA party with a twist!
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