For the last 11 years, Carrie Daley has been required to deal with literally hundreds of cats and dogs while serving as an animal control officer for the city of Pauls Valley.

Over that time, her duties have included collecting strays, muzzling dangerous animals, rescuing pets in harm’s way and overseeing the daily operations at the Pauls Valley Animal Shelter.

Daley will soon be putting her wide experience and training to special use as she heads out this week to help with animal relief efforts currently in progress on the Gulf Coast.

“I’ll be leaving for Louisiana Thursday morning and be gone until October first. I’ll be headed to Gonzales, Louisiana, which is about 30 miles outside of New Orleans,” Daley explained.

“They took some large fair barns there and turned them into a temporary animal shelter for the animals rescued from New Orleans. I think they had about 1,300 there already and Monday they pulled 400 more to safety.”

Daley said her credentials is the reason she is headed to the rescue facility in Gonzales in the first place, and those same credentials might very well land her smack dab in the middle of the hurricane’s devastation.

“I’ve been trained as a first responder with FEMA emergency management for animals in disaster and have rescued animals from under houses, got cats out of trees and even pulled two dogs out of the Washita River,” she noted.

“Most of the work I’ll do will be at the shelter in Gonzales, but there is a possibility, because of my training, I could go to New Orleans and go in and rescue animals trapped in houses.”

While her stay in Louisiana will require she does without some of the pleasantries of life — which we all take for granted on a daily basis — Daley said she doesn’t mind at all, as long as she can be there to lend a helping hand.

“It’s going to be rough. We’re going to have to live in tent camps, use port-a-potties, outdoor showers – the whole bit. But there’s a lot of work to be done and I just feel privileged to be able to do something,” she exclaimed.

“Someone has to help the animals because they can’t help themselves. I want to help out however I can and whatever my training will qualify me for.”

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