Destin fishermen go 'above and beyond' to help with stranded dog in New Orleans

Tina Harbuck
The Destin Log

Not only did Hurricane Ida leave people in Louisiana stranded and in need of help, but animals as well. 

Early last week, Barry Barnes of Shalimar got a call from his son Robert, who was concerned about his dog, Cooper.  

Cooper is resting comfortably in Shalimar after he was picked up by volunteers from a kennel he was staying at in New Orleans. Barry Barnes is caring for Cooper until his son picks him up.

Robert, who manages a hotel in New Orleans, was out of the country when Ida blasted Louisiana, but Cooper was being boarded at Dogtopia in New Orleans. Like most places, the doggy day care and boarding facility had no electricity, no air conditioning and was running out of supplies. 

Barry Barnes visits with his son’s dog, Cooper, at his home in Shalimar. Cooper was staying in a kennel in New Orleans when Hurricane Ida hit, but was brought to Shalimar by volunteers until Barnes' son is able to pick him up.

Barry had seen a Facebook post where Destin fishermen were headed to Louisiana with provisions for the hurricane victims. 

“I have some friends that are heading that way with supplies. I’ll ask if one of them don’t mind bringing Cooper back,” Barry told his son. 

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Barry reached out to Destin’s Travis Marlin, who was headed out the morning of Sept. 2 with about 17 others with supplies for those in the Golden Meadow area just south of New Orleans. 

Cooper sits in the backseat of Travis Marlin's truck on the ride to Shalimar after he was picked up from a kennel in New Orleans.

Marlin was quick to say yes, Barry said. 

“We coordinated it all and he brought him back here. And now he’s hanging out with my Maltese,” Barry said. “Cooper is a great dog. My Maltese are not happy about somebody being in their space, but he just pretends like everything is normal. It’s just cool.”

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When Marlin came through New Orleans on the way home to pick up Cooper, he said Cooper was the last dog there. 

Cooper stretches his legs while playing fetch at Barry Barnes' home in Shalimar. The dog was in a boarding kennel in New Orleans when Hurricane Ida hit and was transported by Destin volunteers to Northwest Florida.

“They were literally standing outside with him on a leash waiting on me,” Marlin said. 

Marlin put Cooper in the backseat of his truck and headed home. 

“He was good. … Sweet old pup,” Marlin said. 

Barry said Marlin sent him photos of Cooper on the ride home. 

“Cooper was just sitting in the back seat … sitting up and riding along,” Barry said. 

Cooper is resting comfortably in Shalimar after he was brought from New Orleans to Barry Barnes' home after Hurricane Ida.

Marlin and Cooper arrived in Shalimar about 9 p.m. Sept. 2. 

“I tried to pay him gas money, but he wouldn’t take it,” Barry said. “They were incredible. That was above and beyond.”

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The first day Cooper was at Barry’s he was a “little antsy, but now he’s into everything. It’s like he lives here. … He’s happy.” 

“It’s been an experience … all good,” Barry said. 

Robert gets back into the country on Sunday. Barry said he will drive to Mobile, Alabama, to meet his son and return Cooper.