This is an update as of Sept 10th, 2006. Picture of Bandit back home with Malvin in New Orleans. Thanks for everyone who made this happen.
A few notes --I have recently lost all my emails whem my computer crashed...if you are reading this I want your email so shoot me an email at email@example.com (I had over 2000)
This is a good chance to tell stories of the hell the animal lovers of New Orleans and the Gulf experienced...please use the "comments" to do so. A nice ending for Malvin, his friends, Bandit and Lisa Fox
Many people on all sides of this have behaved admirably in recent weeks allowing Bandit to go home to his desperate and deserving owner Malvin."I'm going to try to get my dog back and take my dog with me everywhere I go," he said. "Before this year's out, I'm going home to New Orleans, and I'll have Bandit with me.
--Malvin Cavalier, several months ago.
Malvin returned home recently and stated that he felt helpless all over again as everthing reminded him of Bandit. Bandits leash.
Bandit, my dogs and I in Annapolis
Well Malvin was correct. He is home in New Orleans and Bandit will soon be on his way home. I picked him up today. What a story it has been. This reunion may just epitomize all Katrina victims doing better in Year Two than they did in Year One – A New Start. Let’s make this a good year for all of them. People have no idea all that they have suffered. Most who have not been reunited with their animals want that more than they want anything else they lost. Amazing One Year Anniversary
Almost one year to the day since Katrina separated them Bandit and Malvin will be reunited in New Orleans with the help of the friendly crew at United Airlines, who are kindly making room for Bandit in the cabin of the plane this Thursday.
Malvin is specially thankful that Bandit ended up with people like Lisa Fox who took such good care of him and who do understand how desperately he needs Bandit back in his life. He is thankful that Sandra and Cindy helped him when people in the early days simply shut him down. Their role has been misunderstood and it would take me far to long to explain it (one day I probably will). Just know they worked hard with hearts in the right place.
This kid is cute
A special apology to Lisa Fox and her husband for all they have wrongly suffered in this situation. Had they been told the absolute truth in October or Nov., Bandit would have been home within days, not at month twelve. Once they got the correct story they moved within days to return the dog. They placed the phone call to me that got the ball rolling and brought Bandit home.
I would like to state for the record that while of course he has asked for and received some assistance in his quest, Malvin has never waivered from his desire to get is dog back, he has never been coached, and since his and his family’s first requests on Oct. 13th he has 100% with his own mind and spirit been the driver of his own cause, never even hinting that he would give the dog up. Malvin is in the top 10% of us who have that special bond with our pets is deep. Period.
It would have been easier had he not wanted the dog back. That makes it a piece of cake for everyone and the dog stays where it is and everyone is happy. But he was one of the most devastated owners I met along the way. His entire life was consumed with finding his Bandit starting on his first days at the Superdome. Imagine his heavy heart in those six days in the Dome or during the long ride to Houston, when he was being taken farther and farther away from his Bandit. No, Malvin knew he had to find Bandit, and his son’s first emails to me and other groups were literally in desperation. Malvin has recetnly had a rough time returning home as he states "everthing reminds me of Bandit."
The final outcome was made possible by Lisa Fox and her husband Duane themselves when they contacted me to say that they wanted to give the dog back and that they wanted a fair and neutral party to get involved. I knew from the first call they were serious, nice, and honest. Over the course of a few days we gained each other’s trust and moved ahead very quickly. It was not hard. These are WONDERFUL people who finally had the opportunity to speak directly with Malvin. I have come to learn that they really never were told that Malvin wanted his dog back. It wasn’t until they started to read about it themselves that they started to realize what was going on and how sincere Malvin was.
The sometimes unfortunate public perception that they were refusing to return the dog couldn’t have been farther from the truth. Others forces at play complicated the matter and Lisa and her husband never really ever had the truth. When I told Sandra, who had spent the better part of the last year trying to help Malvin get his dog back, that Lisa wanted to talk to Malvin about giving Bandit back, she was ecstatic and deeply appreciative. She knew how much it meant to Malvin for this to happen and was beside herself that good things were finally happening and that Lisa finally had a chance to talk about this directly with Malvin. We always knew Malvin could make his case best himself.
The Foxes are owed an apology by quite a few people. We will see who does so. It will be a litmus test for the Fox’s to see who is genuinely apologetic and who on the other hand had their own agenda. Should you have any kind of note for the Fox's please send it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will forward it along.
The Fox’s never intended to keep Bandit (who they named Lucky Louie), but were told some misinformation along they way that led them to believe that Malvin didn’t want the dog back. As it became clear to them that he did want his dog back, they quickly reached out to me and we put a deal together. The Fox’s are wonderful people who were put in a bad situation (as other fosters/adopters have been) and were told some inaccurate information. That they stepped forward totally on their own says a tremendous amount about them. It was rather simple actually. It took less than seven days from start to finish after they called me. Right now Bandit is laying on the couch with my dogs here in Annapolis.
Lisa and her husband love this dog. It was not a happy day today to know that through doing the right thing they are suffering from their loss. They did have to feel pain to help Malvin alleviate his but they did what they felt needed to be done. I think of it like this – Bandit has two families, and with a little appreciation by everyone involved, everyone who Bandit has touched will be a part of his life forever.
The Foxes’ return of Bandit near the one-year anniversary of Katrina is a symbol to me. A symbol that regular America has not forgotten the Gulf, that if dogs can go home people can also; That little things like a leash or a dog or a photo Album or seeing their neighbor of 20 years come back to town are more important to Katrina victims than their houses and cars. This week Malvin is made whole again although materially he has much to rebuild. His house was demolished. His possessions washed away. But that meant far less to him than a life without his Bandit. Thanks to Lisa and Duane for recognizing this as soon as they had the truth and ending his unhappiness over Bandit. They made it happen quickly.
What people have to understand is that it is very hard on the people who have adopted Katrina animals and who were not told until very late in the process that owners were possibly looking. They may only find out in the harshest possible way, through the announcement of a lawsuit, or unexpectedly seeing a picture of the dog they adopted in the local paper, with a very unhappy story attached, which they may only have heard about for the first time when reading it in the paper. It should never have to come to this. It’s extremely stressful on all the parties to go through this.
At least he now roots for the right team...a true Steeler fan.
Bandit and Malvin Pre Katrina
Please do something for the Gulf today!!!!! I have always said that every American should visit. You can’t understand the pain until you walk the streets or hear the stories from the people you meet. It does something to be their in person and actually see a row of houses all with a little holes chiseled in the roof to let the people free as the water rose around them (they had no chisels). Half the country is a two-hour plane ride away but few have actually been. Make this trip. (I think the President might even fly over again for the Anniversary)
The fact that this was eventually settled without having to go to court and in a positive way says a lot about Lisa Fox. Mr. Cavalier states that after speaking with Lisa, he is thankful that Bandit ended up with someone who deeply cared about the dog and he understands that these were unique times for all involved.
Let me promise you Bandit/ (Lucky Louie) is just as cute as in the pictures. I can understand why Malvin misses him and the Foxes love him.
Bandits Twin. We met this dog at the dog park this morning with his owner. In an amazing coincidence this man and his dog are from New Orleans and his house was destroyed by Katrina. A good time was had by all.
Mr. Cavalier, who says Bandit is the last remnant of the life he shared with his wife, who after 54 years of marriage, recently passed away. Malvin recently returned home to New Orleans. At this time he was still unsure if he would ever see his Bandit again. I learned today that he broke down as he entered his house that had been demolished and half of which simply was gone…as he found Bandit’s leash right where he left it…One of the few things that remained intact in the house. He was reliving the hell of Katrina all over again. But today he is cheerful and looking forward to spending a lot of time with his little buddy again. Thank you Lisa and Sandra and everyone everyone who helped bring them together again.There may be many future updates right here, pictures of the reunion, video and information about other issues that may come out of this.
I have preached a lesson that if you get both sides talking in these Katrina pet stories, that they will be settled amicably. This proved it today as have many past cases I have worked on. I have never said that every dog need go home, in fact plenty of owners have made the decision not to take their dogs back...and that is just fine...but it is their decision.
Bandit was returned to me with the agreement of Mr. Cavalier and taken to my home in Annapolis, MD. United Airlines has been on standby offering to allow Bandit to ride in the cabin of the plane even though his size is just a bit bigger than usually allowed. The reunion is scheduled for this Thursday.
Trip to the dog park this morning
Coincidentally, this all comes at a time when volunteers like Sandra and Cindy who had been helping Mr. Cavalier with Bandit’s case had planned a trip to see him in New Orleans over Labor Day weekend, to help him with the repairing of his house and offer him some moral support. Malvin had told them that everything around the property reminded him of Bandit and he was missing his buddy even more than ever and they wanted to be with him. You simply can't understand the connection he has to Bandit.
Malvin is in the middle of rebuilding his house in New Orleans and donations can be given by contacting Eric Rice at email@example.com I am starting the fund off with $200. Funds will be used to insure that Malvin has all he needs for Bandit so that he can use his own money to rebuild his house. We already have donations of heartworm and a few other supplies. If you know of someone in New Orleans who would be a long term advocate/friend for Malvin and Bandit please let us know. Please check back for Bandit reunion pictures and information about the resolution of another famous case.A special note:
If you are an animal rescuer or group who wants to go into disasters, please remember there are rules and you are not allowed to be the judge of who gets their pet back. For good reason, as many of you have shown that you should not have that power. Rules were set up in Louisiana to insure that owners had a chance to reclaim pets. Most people and groups followed those rules as best they could. A minority of them took it upon themselves to judge others, when they could not ever know what those pet owners had experienced. The neglectful owners aren’t the ones searching for months and fighting to get their pets back. Groups who broke the rules only hurt the people who loved their pets dearly and the pets who loved them back. Pets and owners like these at http://www.lostkatrinapets.com/ Do these animals look abused? Most of these pets never were located by devestated owners, although many of them are known to have been “rescued”. The owners of anyone of them could have been found in 5 minutes on Petfinders lost reports. But no, these people still suffer because some took the pets with no intention of returning them. Very sad in my book when every dog you took that had an owner meant one more of your local dogs got put to sleep and you devestated good people.
United Animals Nations, Noah’s Wish, HSUS all use the model in disasters of “Rescue, Shelter and Reunite
”. If you do not want to play that game -- Don’t come. It is that simple. You have caused great pain to countless people who love their animals just as much as you do. If you can’t recognize peoples’ connections to their pets and think that rehoming every animal you rescue is ethical or moral, then – DON’T COME. And guess what, you don’t even need to worry about an abused dog going back to its home…those people simply don’t look for their dogs. The only people you have hurt are those with deep connections with their animals and the new adopters who are hurt when you tell them things like “this dog has no owner, or it was owner surrendered” and then the owner comes forward. Everyone loses: dog, dogs owner, new adopter and your local pets that need homes. Please review your actions in New Orleans. Over 2000 parents were separated from their children (i mean real children not pets and nobody tried to take those children from their parents. It was an amazingly complicated and horrific situation. To blame pet owners for the hell that transpired was wrong. To keep their pets was wrong. Can you even imagine never knowing what happened to your precious pet....I just don't understand some of you....
more in "comments" --- Gotta run as Bandit, Brooke, Bradley, Buster and I are going for a boat ride...