A double life
Although the book is based on the biblical story of Jonah and the whale, it is not a religious book, Cascio says. The audience is anyone who is interested in self-enlightenment. The author is a Universalist and says many Unitarian and Universalist churches have adopted her book and begun distributing it.
Cascio, who lives with her partner Amanda and two sons, Seth and Matthew, in Kansas City, Mo., now tours the country leading workshops and speaking to groups about the “Nineveh Experience,” which is the theme of her work. The book and workbook can be purchased from Nineveh Press for $10 each at this site.
As the city of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast rebuild after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, animal shelters are spilling over with the abandoned pets of evacuees.
Civic centers and universities opened their doors as emergency animal shelters in hopes of reuniting owners with their pets. But the difficulty lies in actually transporting pets to their owners. Many people have moved out of the area and can’t return to pick up a pet, and animal shelters are stuck holding pets indefinitely, waiting for someone to claim or adopt them.
Crete Carrier owner-operator Sue Wiese answered the call for help and formed “Operation Roger,” a partnership with other commercial truck drivers to transport adopted and found pets to their owners. A simple request for volunteers on a trucker satellite radio show in September 2005 has grown into an organization with about 30 drivers all over the country.
By responding to want ads on www.petfinders.com, Wiese connects the needy pet with a driver in the area. These pets may be hurricane victims found by their owners or other animals adopted by people across the country. Drivers pick up the furry friends on their normal routes and set up “legs” of the journey with other drivers. The pet owner then meets the driver for a happy reunion.
“I was overwhelmed at the number of drivers who wanted to help,” Wiese says. “The phone was ringing off the hook.”
Wiese added, “These are the type of people [drivers] we have.”
Wiese named the volunteer operation after her Manchester terrier, Roger, who died last June. While listening to Katrina coverage on the radio, Wiese knew she wanted to help.
“I prayed, Lord what can I do as a trucker? How can I help?” Wiese says.
The information for Operation Roger is located on the website. Wiese maintains a bulletin board of reports on successful reunions. Her favorite story is the journey of Taz, a small black Schipperke who started in St. Louis with one driver, changed drivers in Atlanta, changed again in New Mexico, and then finally met his new dad in Flagstaff, Ariz.
Since September, Wiese and her volunteer buddies have delivered more than a dozen pets. As Operation Roger grows, Wiese, better known by her CB handle “Classy Lady,” hopes she can get funding to become a non-profit organization and develop a better website.