Amidst all the tragedy and loss of the great flood in Australia, residents of the flooded areas have one thing to look forward to: being reunited with their rescued pets. Dozens of animals separated from their families are staying at Noah’s Ark veterinary clinic. We all hope that these animals will soon be reunited with their families, and that life can become just that much more normal for the victims of this natural disaster. — Global Animal

Alex Payne from Plainlands helping to walk the lost dogs at the University of Queensland Veterinary Hospital in Gatton. Photo Credit: Paul Harris

Sydney Morning Herald, Georgina Robinson

Jan. 15., 2011 – Five minutes’ drive from Gatton town centre sits Noah’s Ark, close to overflowing with the voiceless victims of the Lockyer Valley floods.

Noah himself – let’s call him Bob Doneley, the bearded senior vet at the University of Queensland’s Small Animal Hospital – is straining to hear us over the yaps and yelps of 27 dogs but he rattles off a list of animals rescued from the Grantham and Helidon area.

Also crammed into the Ark are seven cats, two rats, two Siamese fighting fish, two quail, five ring-neck doves. There are no partridges.

“But we are expecting more birds today so there could be a partridge coming in,” Dr Doneley said.

He jokes, but the hospital is at capacity and the university is relying on its own water supply in the aftermath of the devastation and those supplies won’t last forever.

“We run out in about five days but we’re pretty confident we’ll be OK until things get back to normal,” he said.

The most important reason the animals need to be reunited with their owners is for the owners themselves.

“I think because a lot of [people] and particularly the Grantham people have lost everything,” Dr Doneley said.

“Their pets are the one thing they can hold and say ‘well this is mine’ and so that’s a very psychological reason for people to be reunited.

“Just to have some firm contact with the pre-flood days.”

Lost dogs wait for their owners in the University of Queensland Veterinary Hospital in Gatton. Photo Credit: Paul Harris

The dogs are being housed in spacious individual cages along one wall in three rooms of the recently built hospital.

Many are trembling, the odd one is taking a nap. The vets, nurses and volunteers don’t know any of their names but they’ve worked out a system.

“There’s the little white one that slept all day, the noisy dachshund who’s being washed and the tan with the cruciate ligament injury,” Dr Doneley said.

There are a few pups in intensive care. The worst case is a female dog found staked through the chest by a yellow road closed sign.

“She’s doing pretty well for a dog that came in with her intestines around her knees,” he said.

The hospital has been able to reunite one family with their pets so far.

“We had some people come in yesterday and pick up two kittens and a dog,” Dr Doneley said.

“They’d got them out through the roof and into a helicopter and the animals were brought to the pound, then brought here.”

It’s not a bad life for the animals. Volunteers such as Laidley boy Jadam Baker, 13, come in most days to help wash and walk the dogs.

Jadam and his family were hit by the floods but he wants to help.

“We got evacuated but our house is safe so we thought we’d do something,” his father, Tony Baker, said.

Still, it can’t compare to a bowl of food and a pat and a tummy rub from your human.