When weather reports show impending disaster, the human response is to gather up everything near and dear to you and make plans to keep it safe. You take everything to a safe spot in your home, and if there isn’t one there, you head to your car to find a safe haven.
For most of us, our family tops the list of prized possessions we want to keep safe. For the truly responsible pet owners among us, our pets are included in the family list.
Two of those animals, in particular, are lucky to be alive. You won’t believe what their unthinking owners did when storms threatened!
Mike Anderson and Darrell Watson, part of a volunteer rescue group, made local headlines for saving two pit bulls. The two pups were believed to be stranded in the waters for more than 16 hours by the time they were discovered.
The saddest part of their story is the reason that they were stranded. Not because the water rose faster than their owners could take care of them. Or because their owner wouldn’t leave the danger zone without their pets which put them all in jeopardy.
No, they were found in water far over their head because their owners abandoned them in their rush to get themselves to safety.
The rescue men thought it was unbelievable when they came upon a young pit bull that was huddled on top of debris that had gotten trapped against the fence it was tied to. Yes, Its owners had not only abandoned it but left it tied it to the fence with a rope that was barely long enough to allow it to keep its head above water.
They pulled the boat alongside the water soaked dog and pulled it to safety, cutting the tether that had almost cost it its life.
This was the worse case of cruel abandonment they had ever seen. They were stunned when just a few houses down, they were faced with almost exactly the same situation. A young pit bull, barely able to keep his head above water as his tether held him in place against the fence.
After treading water, and clinging to the top of the fences they were tied to for over 16 hours, with flood waters still rising but their tethers not getting any longer, they would have been facing death within minutes had Watson and Anderson not happened along at just the right time.
It’s very clear these two dogs owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to these big-hearted volunteers that found them just in the nick of time.
The dogs were taken to a shelter, where they were vet checked to be sure that they had no serious wounds from their hours in the water, being struck by debris as well as tearing their flesh clinging to the fences.
As soon as the men had handed the waterlogged animals off to helping hands to get them to safety, they headed back to save more lives.
The owners of these dogs and the hundreds of others the men have rescued will have a chance to claim them. But, recent laws making it a criminal offense to abandon dogs by leaving them behind and chained during possible flood conditions make it unlikely that anyone will man up and come forward.
The dogs will join the thousands of other homeless animals that have been the casualties of the recent devastation that Mother Nature has left in her wake across the country, including fire and flood and high winds.
Please, if you are facing an evacuation situation, remember that your pets depend on you for their safety. If you absolutely cannot take them with you (and seriously, why not?) at least leave them in conditions that will allow them to take cover or seek higher ground.
If you can offer a foster or permanent home to any of the misplaced animals currently seeking a new home, please contact your local shelter. They can provide resources to get you in touch with rescue groups around the country that are working nonstop to make sure that every survivor finds a home with someone that deserves it.