Senior animal rescue technicians Bill Tanguay and Mark Vogel have more than a decade each of experience helping pets during disasters.
And just as they helped out in hurricane-ravaged Louisiana after Katrina, they were in New Jersey aiding in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.
The two, dispatched by the South End-based Animal Rescue League, are back in Boston after several days of helping, said Jennifer Wooliscroft, communications director for the animal welfare agency.
While in Toms River, N.J., Tanguay and Vogel aided an elderly woman who refused to leave for the shelter of a friend's house until all four of her feline friends had been found. They found all four, and the woman made it safely to her friend's house with them.
"We caught an incredibly lucky break here," Wooliscroft said of the glancing blow Sandy gave Boston. "When you see that footage...you think 'That could have been us.'"
Having experienced rescue technicians on the ground in the disaster zone helps the human victims deal with other aspects of their recovery.
"At least their animals can be taken care of," Wooliscroft said.
The two specialists were able to return to Boston relatively quickly, she said, because of the good organization of pet welfare agencies in New Jersey.
If you'd like to give to support the programs of the Animal Rescue League, including their technical rescue unit, see here for more information.