While thousands of people were fleeing from the path of Hurricane Harvey, one young man decided to drive right into it to save the lives of two dogs trapped by the storm.
The man, named Connor, had just finished up at his summer job in Austin, Texas, and was preparing to return to graduate school. Then he received a fateful call from his mother, a volunteer for Lucky Lab Rescue and Adoption.
Two labs, Thelma and Hercules, who had been staying in a foster home in Corpus Christi, were in danger from the flooding and needed to be moved out of the area. The rescue group was desperately trying to find a driver willing to get the dogs to safety.
That's when Connor stepped up and volunteered to help. “I said why not? And jumped in my truck,” said Connor, who asked that his last name remain anonymous.
As hundreds of cars lined the freeway headed in the opposite direction, Connor drove right towards the hurricane. “I didn’t really think — I just figured someone needed to help them,” Connor said.
Connor was a rescue rookie, but Stephanie Broughton, the Lucky Lab Rescue and Adoption transportation manager, was on standby to answer his questions and provide advice and assistance. “I told him how to tighten the dogs’ collars, and to take one dog at a time to the vehicle. Also, it was important to secure each dog in his truck so they could not jump and run away with the door open,” Broughton explained.
Several hours later, Connor arrived in Corpus Christi to pick up Thelma first. Hercules had a harder time adjusting to traveling in Connor's truck. He had recently been neutered and was learning how to navigate with the cone on his head. “He figured out where he could and couldn’t go,” Connor said.
By the next day, after driving through the night, Connor successfully delivered Hercules and Thelma to their new foster home. Now Lucky Lab is calling Connor its hurricane hero.
“Connor saved the day, literally, by making a big sacrifice, dropping everything and driving four hours to an area about to get slammed by a hurricane,” said Broughton. “He is a wonderful young man who selflessly gave himself to save some dogs. He is now inaugurated as a ‘rescue road warrior’ and we are forever grateful.”
Conor's heroism has been repeated daily by thousands of other dedicated rescuers who are contending with Hurricane Harvey and its aftermath. Rescuers Cindy Cox and Renee Nank also fought against the storm to move animals from municipal shelters to safer locales.
“There are a lot of incredibly devoted people who have spent hours and hours working very hard, driving many miles to save many lives,” said Nank.
“I play puppy and kitten Tetris to fill every available space in my van to save these animals,” Cox explained. “How horrible it would be if we didn’t have safe places for these animals and no one to drive them?”
The animals that Cox and Nank saved were relocated to Lucky Labs Rescue and Adoption and Austin Pets Alive.
Some of the best examples of humanity have emerged from the horror of Hurricane Harvey, and one of those examples is undoubtedly the number of people willing to assist both individuals and animals move to safer ground.
Our immense thanks and gratitude go to those heroes who risked their lives for the sake of those who had no voice and no one else to help them.
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