Wendy Diamond holding Lucky, and Frances Hayward at the Pet Memorial in New Orleans City Hall. Photo: Ingrid Rivera
Humane Society of Grand Bahama Hon. Chair, Frances Singer-Hayward traveled to New Orleans, to participate in the Katrina Pet Memorial Service, commemorating the third anniversary of Hurricane Katrina honoring the animals who tragically perished in the storm three years ago.
In a moving ceremony held at New Orleans City Hall, the official Memorial consisting of a bronze dog and cat by a famed Louisiana sculptor and a wooden memorial entitled, "They will never be left behind again" was unveiled followed by a luncheon attended by representatives of rescue groups from all over America who had participated in efforts to save the animals. Ms. Singer-Hayward, who had been invited to speak by Humane Society of Louisiana President Jeff Dorsen, was presented the Key to the City, which she accepted on behalf of the beloved potcake who died last year after a brave battle with cancer.
AMIGO’s ties to New Orleans are deep. The BEKIND/HSUS Campaign, in which he starred was, coincidentally, officially launched two days after Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005 making his ‘HSUS Cause Collars’ an instant sensation as people around America ordered them in an effort to participate in the animal relief efforts. The star-studded event, attended by Amigo’s friend ‘Tinkerbell Hilton’ was followed by appearances on CNN, MSNBC, Fox News and stories in national newspapers and magazines.
The sale of BEKIND wristbands by ARF (Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons)
a ‘sister shelter’ to HSGB enabled a rescue mission entitled “The Amigo Express” to travel to Tylertown, Miss, the temporary home of the Humane Society of Louisiana,
bringing back a large number of dogs and cats to ARF who have all since been adopted and/or reunited with their grateful owners. ARF
also arranged the ‘pet lift’ from GBI following the devastation wrought by Hurricanes Frances and Jeanne saving upwards of fifty animals and finding loving homes for all of them. Amigo was subsequently awarded the ARF Ambassador of Good Will Award, which was presented to him by film star Alec Baldwin.
starred in two consecutive Mardi Gras parades as King of Barkus in 2006 and Grand Marshall in 2007 where he was honored for his contributions.
Events took on a tragic and ironic turn, as the city prepared to evacuate its population in advance of Hurricane Gustav. Ms. Singer-Hayward who “rolled up my sleeves and did what I could to help” was struck by “the unbelievable display of love for pets” as people, many of them very poor and in many instances physically challenged lined up in the intense heat, to evacuate with them because they could not bear to leave them behind again. “I know that Bahamians would do the same..” Ms. Singer-Hayward declared. “The deep love for one’s animal companion is equal to the love for a beloved member of one’s family, making animal abuse and neglect all the more reprehensible…I know that AMIGO would have been very pleased at our efforts to fulfill his mission, that of
‘making the world a better place for all animals’….”