Tails From Katrina: Survival & Hope


Calamity - photo by Jeff SelisDuring a recent spell in a veterinary waiting room with my Aussie friend Pearl I happened upon a gem of a book, Tails from Katrina.

Jeff Selis was just another photographer, pet lover, and concerned Oregonian as he watched Katrina’s horrors unfold just over four years ago. The book came to Selis as an idea one morning as he watched a local news crew report on a group of Oregon Humane Society volunteers who had recently returned from the devastation with 78 dogs and 15 cats.

Inspired to put together Tails, Selis was given a single day to photograph the survivors. From his efforts that day comes the emotional documentation of many animals on the precipice of hope as they became available to join loving families. Displayed opposite their hopeful faces are journal entries OHS crew members penned while in New Orleans. The entries recount daily emotions — from broken hearts to glorious victories.

Sir Charles.jpg

Sir Charles - photo by Jeff SelisThe care and honesty of both the journal entries and the photos make this real-life story one that must be shared.

With the same spirit that sent OHS volunteers to Louisiana, Selis dedicates the profits from Tails from Katrina to help fund future OHS rescue efforts.

Tails may seem a light read with its large coffee-table format. Yet, once opened, the honesty portrayed in its pages could never be called “easy reading.” Its simplicity helps us remember that each individual effort makes a difference. It’s a “tail” of individuals working together to save our best friends, our families — a fact that when realized, gives all of us hope.

Check out Selis’ other books, like: Cat Spelled Backwards Doesn't Spell God. Keep up with his dog’s adventures at Wednesday's With Otis.

This is one part of our 2009 Disaster Preparedness series. Click here for additional coverage.