Hurricane Katrina Survivor Opens Pittsburgh Animal Clinic To Texas Pets

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Veterinarian Dr. Aileen Ruiz gave Cupid a clean bill of health Wednesday at her clinic in Lawrenceville – it’s called The Big Easy Animal Hospital.

Dr. Ruiz moved to Pittsburgh and opened her animal clinic shortly after Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

She was evacuated just before the storm made landfall, but returned to New Orleans after the waters receded to help find homes for animals that had been rescued.

The floods this week along the Texas coast from Hurricane Harvey brought back memories for Dr. Ruiz. Many of them have not been pleasant.

“My husband was watching the news over the weekend, and he wanted me to watch, but, honestly, I didn’t want to see because it reminded me of what happened 12 years ago,” she said. “Then, I started watching and saw all the people and animals needing help.”

Dr. Ruiz described the flood images from Texas as far more devastating than she imagined, and now she’s considering a trip to the Gulf Coast.

She told KDKA-TV’s Ralph Iannotti, “I’m thinking about it. I mean, there’s been a great support system [there]. People coming down, making animal rescues. I’ve reached out to a couple of flooded shelters, that if they need animals fostered, if I can get them to Pittsburgh, I’d be more than happy to kennel them,until we get things figured out.”

Ironically, Hurricane Katrina wasn’t Dr. Ruiz’s first close encounter with a storm of historic proportions.

She grew up in Miami and was there when Hurricane Andrew battered Florida in 1992.

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