Dog displaced by Sandy gets new home

RANCHO SANTA FE, Calif. — A dog that was left stranded by Superstorm Sandy on the East Coast and later flown to the Helen Woodward Animal Center in Rancho Santa Fe was adopted Monday, the first of the 50 storm-affected dogs and cats brought to the center to find a new home.

Cookie, a 5-year-old beagle mix, was adopted by retired Sacramento police officers Clem and Pamela Westerman.

Cookie with her new owner, Clem Westerman

The couple was at Disneyland celebrating their 28th wedding anniversary when they a news report about the beagle, Pamela said.

“I told him, because we recently lost a beagle, we had to interrupt our trip and come down here and see,” she said. “If there was a beagle available, we weren’t going home without one.”

Several shelters on the East Coast sent their dogs and cats west when the facilities were rendered uninhabitable by the destructive storm, which made landfall in New Jersey Oct. 29. Southwest Airlines provided flights for the animals, which were chaperoned by SeaWorld staff, according to the center.

Clem Westerman said he gets choked up when he thinks about what the displaced animals have gone through.

“They’ve lost everything, they’ve lost their home, they’ve lost their people, they’ve lost their children, they’ve lost their yard — and they don’t know what happened,” he said. “It’s gone, and they need a new, loving family.”

The Iams pet food company is providing a one-year supply of dog food to the Westermans, who have another beagle and a cat at home.

Shelter officials said they have more than a dozen other animals rescued from the storm are available for adoption.