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Episode 111 - Orphans of Katrina


Released Sat November 13, 2010
Length: 1:07:55
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Orphans of Katrina

People were asking me do you have any happy reunion stories, any great fun interesting happy endings - and you know Katrina was not the land of happy endings.
 - Karen O’Toole

When Karen O'Toole realised how dire the situation was in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, she just had to help.

She spent months living in a car park by night, and rescuing dogs by day.

When she came home, Karen became very frustrated with the way the media coverage of Katrina was being handled and how she was only asked about happy reunion stories. As she puts it, "I realized the true story might never be told - the true story of a human & animal disaster so far-reaching and heartbreaking that the very people who lived it were burying it."

As a result, Karen wrote Orphans of Katrina: What really happened on the Gulf and it's an amazing book. In this interview she talks movingly about her life-changing experiences.

You can find out more about Karen and Orphans of Katrina: What really happened on the Gulf at her website, or at her Facebook page.

Listeners question

Basically to a dog its mouth is the equivalent of our hands, so imagine another person, a small child grabbing your hand to play, it’s the same thing.
 - Dr Muriel Brasseur

DogCast Radio listener Louise Billett contacted us for help with a problem with two dogs she spends a lot of time with. Her rescue German Shepherd Dog Shep mouths her, putting his teeth on her wrist and hand a lot. Although he doesn't hurt Louise, she is interested in why he does this and how she can stop him doing it.

Annie is a rescue Labrador that Louise looks after when her owner is away, and Annie has the same bad habit as Shep, but she also likes to pin other dogs down and mouth them on the neck.

We arranged for zoologist and experienced animal behaviourist Dr Muriel Brasseur for Louise to put her questions to. Muriel has some great advice and recommendations for Louise, and you can find out more about Muriel at her Oxfordshire Animal Behaviour Centre website or via her Twitter page.

To download the leaflet with suggestions on how to play with your dog go to the Blue Cross site.


In the DogCast Radio News you can hear how dogs focus on human faces, what frequency they shake at and research into the pessimistic and optimistic nature of some dogs' characters.

Plus hear how the most famous dog owner in the UK - the Queen - has had to take steps to keep dogs safe at her Sandringham estate.

Buddy's Diary

In Buddy's Diary, Buddy - who is now an Olympian - ponders on the nature of things that interest humans and dogs. Seashells, bubbles, laser lights and socks, what do they all have in common? - Buddy has the answers!

Save Lennox

Lennox is an American Bull dog cross, his mum was a Pedigree American Bull dog and his father was a cross between a Pedigree Staffordshire Bull Terrier and a Pedigree Black Labrador.

Until recently Lennox lived very happily with a Yorkshire terrier and a Boxer. On Wednesday the 19th May 2010 he was taken from his family home by Belfast City Council as they believe he falls under the dangerous dogs act for Northern Ireland, and since then he has been locked away from his family under threat of death.

To find out more listen to the show, or visit the Save Lennox website. This dog and his family need you help -please take the time to help get Lennox back home where he belongs.

Pukka: The Pup After Merle

If you are lucky enough to write a book that captures the heart of the dog world in the way Merle’s Door did, how on earth do you follow it? Well author Ted Kerasote has very wisely left the talking up to his current dog, and the result is Pukka: The Pup After Merle.

It's a fantastic book and in this episode you can hear a review , or to find out more visit Ted Kerasote's website.


277 - Tripawd Superdogs, GB Senior Agility World Championship Team, Tuk's Law and the escapee kitten saved by a dog

In a bumper, bonanza, bulging at the seams episode, hear the inspiring story of the Tripawd Superdogs inspired by photographer Sarah Loveland's own three legged dog. History in the making, as the first British team enters the Senior Agility World Championships. Tuk’s Law campaigns to stop dogs and other pets being put down without the owner's knowledge. Daisy the escapee kitten was saved by a search and rescue dog, and her story is worthy of a Disney movie!

189 - The Dog Healers and War Dogs Remembered

In this episode you can hear Mark Winik talk about his debut novel, The Dog Healers, and listen to Julia Robertson explain why she founded the charity War Dogs remembered. Plus there's the DogCast Radio News, and what Mischief the German Spitz puppy has been up to.

188 - Service Dogs UK and Roxie the Doxie Finds Her Forever Home

In this episode you can hear about Service Dogs UK, a fantastic charity which trains assistance dogs to support veterans of any service - military personnel, police, firefighters, paramedics and the coastguard - who develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorder due to their job. Also, listen to Dr Jody A Dean, a clinical psychologist talk about how her book, Roxie the Doxie finds her Forever Home, is helping children understand and talk about adoption and other family issues. Plus the DogCast Radio News and some thoughts on the alpha dog myth.

187 - Muffins Halo and Chorley Fun Dog Show

In this episode you can hear about Muffin's Halo for Blind Dogs, and what motivates people to enter their dog in a fun dog show. In the DogCast Radio News, listen to stories about the latest dog related research. Plus there's a new member of the DogCast Radio team!

186 - Maxwell Muir on wolves

In this episode you can hear trainer, behaviourist, writer, broadcaster and wolf expert Maxwell Muir talk about what wolves mean to him personally, their plight in a modern world, and his hopes for their future. Plus we have the DogCast Radio News.