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A Rescue to Remember

The Animal Rescue Team is on the ground in Texas, working to save animals impacted by Hurricane Harvey. The team has encountered so much, but this rescue story is one they won’t soon forget.

Emotions and waters ran high in Beaumont, Texas yesterday. Almost a week after Hurricane Harvey first made landfall in the state, many pets were still unaccounted for or trapped in family homes waiting to be rescued.

Tara Loller and Chris Schindler from The HSUS’ Animal Rescue Team, accompanied by the director of Beaumont Animal Services, responded to a call for help. A Chihuahua and cat were trapped in a house that had filled with several feet of flood water.

They quickly launched a rescue boat to get as close to the property as possible. When they found their path blocked by debris and railroad tracks, they began to wade toward the house on foot.

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The house was the picture of devastation. All of the windows were broken and the water running through the house was high enough that rescuers might have been completely submerged. Thankfully, passersby on a narrow boat offered to help and brought Tara aboard their vessel.

As the boat approached the house, Tara could hear a dog's desperate cries. She began to search the house waist-deep in water. As she called out for the missing dog, the other two rescuers swam through raging water and forced the front door open.

Tara spotted a tiny white and brown Chihuahua clinging to the top of a floating couch. The dog was petrified -- after giving Tara a quick sniff, she jumped right into her arms and clung to her shoulder. The Chihuahua was placed gently in a pet carrier, and the second phase of the rescue began.

Tara Loller of The HSUS Animal Rescue Team with carriers containing a Chihuahua and kitten who were saved from flooding.

Tara and Chris could hear meows as they began searching through the house to locate the missing cat. Finally, they found a black kitten in an air pocket above a closet… but the kitten was too high to reach.

After a few tries and some quick thinking, Tara got on Chris’ shoulders as he stood waist-deep in the water. Then, Chris boosted Tara up with one of his hands and launched her into the small area in the ceiling where the kitten was hiding.

Flat on her belly and covered in insects, Tara was able to grab the kitten and hand her down to be put safely in a carrier. Both animals were transported to a shelter where they will receive the food and rest they so desperately need.

Rescues like this are what heroes like Tara and Chris do best. Thanks to the generosity of animal lovers like you, our Animal Rescue Team is a group of highly trained, well-equipped and dedicated responders who go above and beyond, risking their own wellbeing to save animals' lives.

The team was on the ground well before Harvey hit, coordinating with local officials and transporting animals out of harm's way. Now, we're taking on rescue operations in areas that fell right within Harvey's path -- and we couldn't do it without you.

If you're able, please make a gift to our Disaster Relief Fund today. Your donation helps make incredible rescues like this possible: both during Hurricane Harvey, and in other times of crisis.

See footage of more rescue efforts in the wake of Harvey:

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