The Rogue Valley Humane Society has some new critters rescued from the historic flooding in Louisiana last month.

Last week Humane Society Director Margaret Varner drove north from Grants Pass to Portland with Tanya Allen, the Humane Society's dog coordinator, to pick up the animals at the Hillsboro airport.

"We were the first ones there, and we were sitting there waiting for the plane to arrive," Varner said. "We had to transfer them straight off the plane and into our trucks, and we drove straight back home."

The Humane Society took in 10 dogs and five cats. After medical treatment that included spaying and neutering, heartworm treatment, and leukemia and AIDS testing, all of the felines from Louisiana are ready to be adopted.

"Just fill out some paperwork and make sure that forever friend is a good match," Varner said.

Kittens cost $85 to adopt and adult cats are $65. People interested in adopting a dog will have to wait a little while, though.

"They're still in quarantine," Varner explained. "We're making sure we socialize them and get them ready for adoption."

There are also issues with the dogs' exposure to floodwaters. The flooding damaged more than 84,000 homes in Louisiana, particularly in the Baton Rouge area, and left thousands of pets stranded or abandoned.

"Because of the water being dirty, you just don't know whether it's pesticides, oils, whatever's in the ground is seeping into that water," Varner said. "Obviously, they swim through it and they become contaminated."

Considering all the trauma the Louisiana animals have been through, they have responded well to the treatment and care they've received at the Humane Society.

"They all still have beautiful personalities, despite what they came from," Allen said. "When we first got to Hillsboro to pick them up, it was so heartbreaking to see them, but we knew we were going to take them to a better place."

The 15 animals taken in by the Humane Society flew from Louisiana to Salt Lake City, and then flew from there to Hillsboro, where Varner and Allen picked them up. Several of the animals on board that flight continued on to Washington state.

The flight was paid for by Wings of Rescue, an organization that flies animals out of catastrophic situations like the one in Louisiana.

"We had 124 pets on board that flight," Wings of Rescue co-founder Cindy Smith said. "We have two more flights going out next week."

Although it's been only a week since the Louisiana pets arrived in Oregon, they have all settled in well at the shelter. Those undergoing treatment for medical conditions sustained in the flooding are healing fast, and will soon be available for adoption.

"The vet just came in and did a walk-through, and they're all doing fairly well," Varner said. "Now we're just helping them decompress and get ready to be adopted."

— Reach reporter Madeline Shannon at 541-474-3813 or