Hurricane Harvey has left thousands displaced and without homes since touching ground in southeast Texas in mid-August.
It’s left massive amounts of wreckage in its wake, as well as at least six fatalities, and it has stranded both humans and animals in a flooded swath of the Lone Star State.
The storm was expected to last four to five days, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner told residents, but the effects of the storm’s “epic and catastrophic” damage will undoubtedly last much longer, ABC News reports.
Days on the road, lost jobs, hotel and lodging bills, fuel, and food expenses await those who decide not to check into the designated evacuation facilities like the George R. Brown Convention Center. And, once home, there’s the painful work of rebuilding a life out of what remains.
Emergency crews continue to evacuate humans and their pets from areas most affected by Harvey, but the work is tireless. Area shelters and even the 9-1-1 service in southeastern Texas have been inundated and unable to extend services to those not facing life-threatening situations.
“Currently, our numbers have increased to 330 animals (169 dogs, 122 cats, and 40 more confirmed pets en route.)” Austin Pets Alive told ABC News on August 28.
“Within the next 24 hours, those numbers are expected to increase by 50 to 110 animals, depending on how navigable some roads are. Our current projection is that we will have evacuated around 1,000 animals to Austin Pets Alive by the end of the week.”
The staggering loss of those most affected by the storm cannot be measured, but even the spirits of those who have survived Harvey might be eased by hearing of the inspiring rescues that have taken place. A number of uplifting stories from the storm have emerged as the waters recede.
Here are some of the most heart-wrenching rescues from Hurricane Harvey:
6. Otis Stocks Up
Perhaps he understood the urgency of the situation, or perhaps he’s just falling back on old habits; but the image of a German shepherd mix named Otis carrying a bag of dog food across the flooded streets of Sinton, Texas;flo has been shared thousands of times since it was first posted.
The Animal Rescue Site published an account of Otis’s story on Monday. According to the dog’s owners, he’s been known to filch food and other items in the past. Otis’s preparedness may have little to do with the extreme weather, it seems.
5. Stranded pets
According to National Geographic, it’s not uncommon for dogs and cats to try to escape during extreme weather events. But what happens when the pets are still tied up?
While owners hoping to keep their pets safe may think that securing them somewhere at home is the best course of action, it’s actually putting the animals in harm’s way.
A photographer who came across a dog chained to a telephone pole in Victoria, Texas, was kind enough to free the animal to escape the rising waters, already 10 inches deep. Unfortunately, not all animals are so lucky.
4. Kittens Saved Just In Time
Another good samaritan, this time in Houston; found a litter of kittens seeking dry land on the patio of a nearby apartment.
“I heard them meowing once the water rose so I went outside and saw one try to climb a tree and another stuck in a gutter;” a woman named Tatiana, who goes by the Reddit username Naruto015, told Love Meow.
The kittens are just over a month old and are staying both dry and well-fed in a room owned by Tatiana’s neighbors on the second floor of her apartment building.
3. Attic Rescue
After Adam Brackman helped save the lives of Cindi Simpson and her 90-year-old mother who lives with Alzheimer’s disease and cancer, he quickly returned to their house to rescue their three dogs and three cats.
“I’m sitting on top of an attic with her. I’m bonding with her pets to get them to trust me so I can get them down,” Brackman told ABC News.
His courage and determination has not gone unnoticed.
Brackman, the owner of Axelrad Beer Garden in Houston, had made one rescue previous to finding Simpson and her family in an attic, collecting another family and their puppy outside their flooded home in his boat.
— ABC News (@ABC) August 28, 2017
2. Rooftop Rescue
Firefighters traveling through Houston by boat have been vigilant in locating stranded residents; but the sight of two dogs on a roof caught their attention immediately on Sunday, August 27.
While their boat was already packed with others hoping to be dropped off on dry land, NBC News reports; a sign on the home’s front door that simply read “Help” was enough to warrant a stop.
Marty Lancton, union president of the Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association, and another firefighter secured the dogs and then found their owner and brought them all aboard.
“We got all of them,” Lancton told NBC. “I have two labradors and I’ll tell you the thought of having your pet not being rescued I know is a very emotional and difficult thing.”
1. Residents Stay Behind
The collective residents of southwest Texas have been offering each other help and support in every way possible since the onset of the storm. Their efforts become more and more critical as each day passes; and those left without critical resources continue to suffer.
On Monday, August 28, a group of Houston residents found six cats trapped in the flood and delivered them safely to a local shelter. They saved lives and made sure these animals will be safely returned to their owners once the waters recede and residents are able to return home.
These stories stand out as the southeastern U.S. copes with the wreckage left by Hurricane Harvey, but there is yet so much work to be done.