Twelve years ago this week Hurricane Katrina caused massive flooding in New Orleans. Thousands of people were stranded in the rising water. The government was ill prepared for the disaster. Now the country is faced with another epic disaster, the flooding in Houston caused by Hurricane Harvey. Thankfully, the government has learned many lessons in emergency management during that time, not only to rescue humans but to rescue beloved pets too.
In New Orleans, as the city was being evacuated, residents were told that pets could not go. Many people, acting the same way my readers would refused to leave their pets behind, and they perished in the flood. It was the sacrifice that these people made that caused rescuers to realize that to many people pets are family, and they needed to be included in the evacuation.
When rescuers found Joe Garcia, chest deep in water at his north Houston home, he went back in his house and carried out his German Shepherd Heidi, carefully keeping Heidi’s head above water as he carried her to the boat. When the water began to rush in under Belinda Penn’s front door, she put her dogs Winston and Baxter in their crates and retreated to the second floor. The next morning they were rescued and brought to Mrs. Penn’s mother’s apartment on higher ground.
Unfortunately, dogs still got left behind if there was no room in the boat. Human life must come before our lives. We are always willing to give up our lives for our humans. During Katrina, dogs were not allowed in shelters, but in Houston, they have been welcomed.
Sadly, not every pet owner care for their pets the way our parents do. Many dogs were left abandoned. They were rescued by neighbors or by other kinds hearted humans in boats. They are in shelters across the country. They are scared, and alone, and don’t know what happened to their family but they are alive, and they have a second chance, which many of the Katrina dogs never had.
We have also had many dogs arrive here because of the terrible storm: Frank, an English bulldog, caught in a current and swept away, Freddy, a black and white pitbull who ran into the flooded street, and many other dogs, pets and cattle were lost
At times of tragedy, the Internet becomes a place of love and caring. One example is this Facebook Groupwhere people who are willing to risk their lives to rescue dogs reach out to people who are missing dogs and other animals or know where those in need are.
The truth is, in the mortal world, we can’t count on governments to save us. We need one another, both human and animals. We have seen the worst nature can do, and the best man can do, in Houston.
They didn’t do it to win; they didn’t do it for fame or fortune, they did it for the noblest reason. Because it was right and it was kind.
There is still hope for you humans yet.