A Shared Responsibility

“Animal Welfare” is a general word I use for the varied efforts to assist animals who are in distress, lost, misplaced, in need of rescue, abused, or endangered. We all share a role in the stewardship of creatures both domestic and wild (as well as the environment). Through the years my family and I have rescued, fostered, rehabilitated, re-homed, or financially supported multiple efforts and organizations. We feel fortunate to have an amazing network of individuals and groups who work tirelessly for the welfare of animals. This page highlights a few of the events and groups we’ve been involved with.

Pictured above is “Nola,” a red Lored we fostered post Katrina. While we reunited many birds with their rightful owners, Nola’s people were never found. He lived out his life with us and was a wonderful creature.

Pure-breed Adoption

We’ve worked with Borzoi, Cardigan Welsh Corgi, and many other other pure-bred rescues groups for several years, transporting, assisting, doing home-checks, fielding “is this breed right for me” questions, and community outreach. 

Through volunteers Terry Mayers and Catherine Odom, Mom discovered the love of her life— “Ignatious.” Ig had spent his early years as a puppy mill breeding dog. He quickly adapted to a life of luxury and is a very beloved member of the family.

Louisiana Italian Greyhound Rescue


Louisiana Catahoula Cur Rescue

In December of 2012, my brother Hansel Harlan adopted a young red leopard Catahoula Cur. “Marais” made a wonderful addition and was soon enlisted as Marsh Dog’s CED (corporate executive dog. :)

Fortunately, the state dog of Louisiana has a very committed group of people who work to protect this unique and historic breed.

I must add that Hansel, who is deeply devoted to animals, has lent his legal expertise on a number of occasions to help those working with abuse, hoarding, and ownership cases.

Catahoula Rescue


Cat Haven

I was delighted to have Cat Haven as a class client for one of the LSU Graphic Design senior classes I taught. Some of the student work utilized was a series of billboards. This was both educational and exciting for the students as they not only learned about the issue but how to communicate and influence solutions in their community. Abandoned and feral cats are a chronic problem the world over and cause suffering both to cats and the environment. I am strongly against feral cat colonies because of both their environmental impact and inhumanity to cats.

Cat Haven


Wildlife Rehabilitation

In 2010 I worked as an LSART (Louisiana State Animal Rescue Team) para-professional at wildlife stabilization units set-up in Venice, Grand Isle, and Hammond to deal with the Macondo oil disaster. Unlike efforts post Hurricane Katrina, systems were extremely well organized and run by trained professionals. Our work was focused on not only saving and rehabilitating oiled animals but also on meticulously documenting oilded species affected both living and deceased. This data was used in the state’s suit against BP which resulted in a settlement of $4.5 billion, the largest of its kind in U.S. history.

It was an amazing experience to be a be involved in recovery efforts in the wake of the largest U.S. oil spill in history. Many animals were helped and I learned a great deal.

Story and photos here: Macondo “British Petroleum” Gulf Oil Disaster


Katrina Fostered Feathers

While dogs were the most visible animals displaced by the 2005 hurricanes, thousands of pet birds were also affected. Many of those rescued from New Orleans were brought to a facility mid-way between New Orleans and Baton Rouge. A few weeks post-K, Hurricane Rita reared her head and an ill-conceived decision was made to relocate the animals at that facility to the far corners of the country. It was at this time that we given the task to foster some 100 birds (parakeets, cockatiels, lovebirds, cockatoos, and Amazon parrots). Working with Petfinder.com, many were happily reunited with their owners, a few were relinquished into our care, several were adopted out after a year, and a number remain with us to this day. “Nola,” pictured at the top of this page, was one of our unidentified wards. Pictured on the left is a woman we were able to reunite with her pet Cockatiel. It was incredibly satisfying to reunite pets with their rightful owners. Sadly, many pet owners never had the opportunity.

Special thanks to Drs. Fred McMullan and Greg Rich for their generous help with our feathered wards.

You may read some sad and happy stories about our experiences with misplaced Katrina animals and their owners in the “Storyville” section of this website.


LSU School of Veterinary Medicine

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the LSU SVM team responded by partnering and combining resources with the Louisiana State Animal Response Team (LSART). They did a phenomenal job in every aspect. In addition, the Louisiana Medical Association’s WJE Foundation was a secure and reliable means for donors around the world to financially help.

I was asked to photograph large animals housed at the Gonzales shelter and under the care of LSU SVM. Many of these images were used by to tell the story of the school’s remarkable work post Katrina and to fundraise for key initiatives.


BCOA Ready Borzoi

My experience with the animals and pet owners impacted by Hurricane Katrina was a harsh lesson in disaster mitigation. What I learned led me to advocate for readiness. I was honored to be asked to chair the Borzoi Club of America’s newly formed disaster preparedness committee. I chose to create an extensive website that put tools and resources at the fingertips of members. “Ready Borzoi” was recognized by AKC with a Community Award and $1,000 cash prize. In addition, several other dog clubs have taken note and used Ready Borzoi to create their own breed-specific resources.

Ready Borzoi


Louisiana Black Bears

I chose to make the Black Bear Conservation Coalition the subject of my graduate thesis creating a comprehensive branding and communications system for the non-profit. In the process, I learned so very much about the species, the environment they occupy, the considerable efforts made to conserve this Federally protected mammal, as well as work to counter the unprecedented rate of species loss worldwide.

Special thanks to BBCC director Paul Davidson for his remarkable advocacy and generous help in bringing me up to speed on all things bear.

Black Bear Conservation Coalition


Mixed-breed Adoption

Darling “Maybelline” was adopted from the East Baton Rouge Animal Control Center. She was a fabulous addition and a beloved member of the pack. Maybelline represents the dozens of homeless dogs our family has taken in over the years. 

Since 2011, Companion Animal Alliance has assumed the management of the Animal Control shelter and we happily support their important work.


Marsh Dog

Our company Marsh Dog supports multiple dog welfare and rescue groups like Spay BR, Yelp BR, and Borzoi Club of America, to name a few. Our favorite events center around carnival such as the annual CAAWS Mystic Krewe of Mutts parade for dogs! This parade, the 2nd largest in the nation, draws crowds of 14,000 and is the primary fundraiser for this non-profit. Our family was involved in establishing the parade now in its 15th year!

CAAWS Mystic Krewe of Mutts parade

Marsh Dog also supports Pet Fest which draws some 20,000 people from the Greater New Orleans area and benefits the Jefferson SPCA.


© Veni Harlan. All Rights Reserved. |  Far Field Borzoi, Baton Rouge, Louisiana  |  E-mail

I'm sometimes asked "Why do you spend so much of your time and money talking about kindness to animals when there is so much cruelty to men?

I answer: I am working at the roots.

George Thorndike Angell, an American lawyer, philanthropist, and advocate for the humane treatment of animals (1823-1909)


Pet Therapy

We have done Pet Therapy over the years visiting the elderly, sick, and disabled of all ages.
The power of dogs to connect is so wonderful to experience. We are currently working via Pet Partners.