Hurricane Harvey's Amazing Animal Survival Stories: Rescues, Reunions and Furry Refugees

Horses up to their necks in water, a dog refugee rescuing his dog food, a heartwarming pet reunion and more stories from the frontline of Hurricane Harvey in Texas

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.

Epic Flooding Inundates Houston After Hurricane Harvey
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 (see below), heart-tugging stories from Harvey’s frontline abound.

Hurricane Harvey Slams Into Texas Gulf Coast
Joe Raedle/Getty

Here are a few of the most extraordinary examples of animals overcoming the effects of this catastrophic storm we’ve seen thus far.

Horses Saved from Neck-High Water

Another impressive and touching Facebook rescue post is of two men riding through the flood waters on horses to save livestock left behind to endure the effects of Harvey alone. The clip shows the men freeing a penned-in horse standing in water up to its neck.

Rescuers Pull Dog Caught on Rail to Safety

A viral Facebook photo shows rescuers, in trash bag ponchos, saving a dog in desperate need of help. According to the post, the pup was found clinging to the rail while flood waters surged around her.

Pup Makes the Best of a Bad Situation with Bucket Boat

A Instgrammer caught in the rising flood waters of Harvey, put his pup first — making his little dog an improvised boat out of a bucket. According to AOL, the dog, Kiwi, was happy to have a dry place to stay afloat.

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.”

How You Can Help

  • A GoFundMe page has been set up by 4 Paws Farm and the I Love My Dog Team to raise donations for veterinary care, food, and bedding for animals impacte by Hurricane Harvey. To date, the fundraiser has surpassed its original goal, raising almost $50K in just a few days. Click here for more information and to donate.
  • Best Friends Animal Society, the first animal rescue on the ground during Hurricane Katrina, has deployed its disaster response team to Texas to help rescue stranded animals, deliver supplies and transport displaced pets. You can donate to the disaster relief fund here.
  • The SPCA of Texas is working to evacuate pets out of the affected ares and is helping to provide resources on pet-friendly housing to those evacuating the Houston area. The SPCA of Texas is accepting donations here.
  • Austin Pets Alive! Is moving as many displaced animals as possible into its shelter and is working on adopting out the animals currently residing there, so it has more room for Harvey evacuees. The rescue is looking for financial donations and potential adopters, learn more here.
  • American Humane is working to rescue animals from the flood waters, as well, and is also providing hundreds of pounds of pet food to pet owners and their animals currently displaced by Harvey. To support these efforts, click here.
  • The Humane Society of the United States has several on-the-ground response teams rescuing animals and helping people with pets get to safety. It recently took the lead in organizing a flight of shelter dogs from Texas to New Jersey. Readers can donate towards the rescue effort by clicking here.
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