Hurricane Harvey Pet Stories: Rescues, Reunions, Animal Refugees

Rescue efforts are still underway as thousands in the Houston, Texas, area are feeling — and fleeing — the effects of Hurricane Harvey. In some cases, these refugees in need of help or rescue are pets and other displaced animals local to the region.
Scott Olson/Getty

From Good Samaritans like Andrew White, who helped his neighbor rescue her dog (see above) with his boat, to everyday residents like Naomi Coto carrying her dog to a safe place as she evacuates her flooded home (main photo), heart-tugging stories from Harvey’s frontline abound. Here are a few of the most extraordinary examples of animals overcoming the effects of this catastrophic storm we’ve seen thus far.

Dog Saves a Full Bag of Dog Food from Flood Waters
Tiele Dockens/Facebook

Sinton, Texas, resident Tiele Dockens posted this photo of a local golden retriever named Otis to Facebook and it quickly went viral with more than 34,000 shares and 16,000 likes. The pup was headed back to his house carrying food when Dockens snapped the picture, and his owner confirmed that Otis made it home safe and sound, reports

Tied-Up, Abandoned Dog Rescued by Photographer Who Took Its Picture

Our hearts broke in 1 million pieces just looking at this poor pup. The dog (and another just like him) was abandoned in Victoria, Texas, tethered to a telephone pole in rising rainwater. Luckily the Daily Mail photographer who discovered the dog was kind enough to also save him. Texas officials have warned against leaving pets and livestock tied up, repeatedly. “I promise you, that I will hold anyone accountable that unlawfully restrains their dog in extreme weather conditions,” said Roman Forest Police Chief Stephen Carlisle in a statement. “Dogs are your family members too.”

Displaced Dog Jumps in Jeep, Driver Uses Social Media to Reunite Him with Owner

As motorist Aaron Jayjack stopped for gas in Runge, Texas, while heading to the boarder to pick up his own pups, a dog he nicknamed “Harvey” hopped into the Jeep to escape the storm. Jayjack posted a series of tweets and videos on social media, asking for people to share in hopes of finding the pup’s rightful owner. The dog didn’t have a microchip, but luckily Jayjack was able to locate the owner of Cash (the canine’s real name). He posted a video on the way to the hound’s handoff …

… and another once Cash and his human sealed the deal.

Aww. We’re all so relieved for these fellas!

Frightened Hawk Hitches a Ride in a Taxi to Escape Hurricane Harvey

It’s not just domesticated animals who are spooked by the storm. Taxi driver William Bruso of Missouri City, Texas, was shocked to find a Cooper’s hawk camping out inside his cab on Friday. The bird had flown in through an open window, apparently terrified of the low pressure and high winds of the storm according to the New York Post.

Bruso donned a glove and offered the bird of prey a perch on his hand, which it amazingly accepted. The man named his new feathered friend “Sgt. Hurricane Harvey” and eventually handed the bird over to the Texas Wildlife Rehabilitation Coalition of Houston. “It was a very cool experience,” Bruso told the Post. “I felt very honored that [the hawk] chose to hunker down with me — and was so well-behaved, better behaved than my cousins who come here and wreak havoc … It was a magical experience. This is a bird of prey, a natural-born killer in its normal environment. But this was not a normal situation.”

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