A DOG FOR THE FAMILY
2017 set weather records and animals suffered the same loss of life and habitat as did the people but this amazing dog story soothes the heart...
Big Boy, True Hurricane Harvey Rescue
Vickie Haywood, Dog Sports Editor
I am bound to a promise that names will not be revealed but this is a true story. None of the people involved want any kind of recognition. As people struggled to save family, friends, and valuable livestock, pets were at horrible risk to Harvey.
A dear friend is an engineer and plant owner in Western NC. He is very environmental centered and takes his commitment to the highest level in outfitting each property he owns with the very best equipment to face any disaster. He trains employees to tackle anything that might come and when possible, he sends teams to help in disasters.
Enter Hurricane Harvey. The Swift Water rescue team was dispatched by air to the Houston area through Dallas airport. All water equipment had been trucked from 5 hours away for their use. Boats, motors, food and water, waders, first aid equipment. The team packed a change of clothes in dry-bags and boarded the airplane to Dallas.
Upon landing they were trucked to a staging area near Cedar bayou and set right to work in heavy rain which totaled more than 51 inches!
Animals were stranded everywhere, seeking any measure of high ground!
As they were patrolling flooded streets in a boat with the Cajun Navy nearby, they spotted a big black object swimming toward the boat my friend was on. Eyes LOCKED on my friends face... the big black dog got to the boat, hauled himself on board, shook himself off and barked.. and barked.. you know that bark!! Lassie barking "Timmy's in the well!! Timmy's in the well!!" He then jumped back in the water, swam in circles and barked some more! Everyone on board said FOLLOW THAT DOG and they did!
A pretty good swim later, the big boy presented his owners, flooded out. They were taken back to the staging area where they stayed until a shelter could be procured. The owners were very worried about the dog as so few shelters were ready yet and none in that area were accepting pets. But these owners were prepared! They had all their important papers in dry bags AND had taken the time prior to the storm to go to the vet and get copies of their dogs medical records, microchip information and a health certificate in case they found a way to ship the dog to family.
Lucky for them, they were rescued by animal lovers and a member of my NC dog club. The Big Boy was invited to stay and over the next few days it was determined he would be safer back in Western NC.
When it was time for my friend’s engineer-team to return home, the big wet mess of a dog was taken to the airport. While waiting for a non-stop flight home, the swampy stinky team guys were treated to showers in the pilot’s lounge and received meal vouchers. Big Boy was wrapped in blankets as the Airline attendant determined he was under too much stress and too wet to go in the hold... too cold in there. The hero dog was flown home First Class by the airline at coach fare.
(I Imagine every rule was broken that morning but we were assured later by a CEO at the airline, that he was pleased with his employees actions.)
A few hours later, all arrived safely here in NC. Big Boy was treated to a spa grooming locally to get rid of as much muck and bacteria as possible from 5 days in the water. Knowledgeable people were consulted to feed and warm him slowly so as not to further stress him or upset his tummy - these big guys can bloat you know! Big Dog slept for hours, utterly exhausted. He ate small meals, drank electrolytes and mom’s chicken home-made soup. Big Boy has recovered from his ordeal quite nicely, with complete acceptance of his odd circumstances.
The plant owner only lifted one eyebrow when viewing the bill for 11 returning employees instead of 10. In fact, he welcomed his new Temp employee!!!
The owners are still in shelter, no one is sure when they may be able to begin the process of reclaiming their home - and their dog! They keep in touch daily and Big Boy is accepting his new experiences as a Tar Heel instead of a Texan. He’s enjoying his new playmates and going to work as a plant mascot. He is safe and will return to his home as soon as it is feasible to do so.
There are tales like this one all over the stricken area...you just don’t hear about them.
UPDATE! The owners found a place to live. They flew in to pick up the Big Boy and headed back to Texas...all is as well as it could be for this family and their big black dog. But now there’s Florida…