It has been more than a week since Hurricane Florence touched down near Wilmington, N.C., but those affected by it are still working to pick up the pieces. The storm was classified as a Category 1 hurricane by the National Weather Association, bringing more than 20 inches of rain to 25 cities, fueling 16 tornadoes, and leaving at least 31 people dead in its wake.
While rescuers work to ensure that all residents of North Carolina are safe, others are devoting time and resources to the pets that were left behind. In a post by @DogFiles, a website that captures inspiring stories about pets, rescuers are shown saving what turned out to be six pit bulls and two puppies from a flooded house.
The post shows pictures of the dramatic rescue and includes some gruesome details — including the way in which the dogs survived. “One by one, they carried the scared dogs out to the boats,” the post reads. “These dogs had spent over 5 days in rancid flood waters keeping themselves alive by floating on couch cushions and on top of dressers. They didn’t eat and probably didn’t sleep much either.”
The dogs had reportedly been floating in the house for five days, most of them relying on couch cushions but at least one of them by “using the body of a dead dog to float on.” The dogs appeared to the rescuers to be very sick, likely from floating in their own excrement. The team was led by American Humane, the nation’s first humane organization, which has been rescuing animals for more than 100 years.
Mark Stubis, the head of communications for American Humane, says the organization has been on the ground in North Carolina for almost two weeks (after arriving early to help with pre-evacuation). While most of the saves have involved dogs and cats, they aren’t the only animals that American Humane has come across. “We have [also] rescued horses, goats, deer, steer, turkeys, chickens, and even parakeets,” Stubis tells Yahoo Lifestyle.
While rescue operations will likely continue, Stubis notes that it’s important for families who have been reunited with their pets to be gentle with them. “Uncertainty and change in the environment affect animals too, presenting new stresses and dangers,” Stubis tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “Your pet’s behavior may change after a crisis, becoming more aggressive or self-protective. Be sensitive to these changes and keep more room between them, other animals, children, or strangers.”
He adds: “Animals need comforting too. Comfort your pet with kind words and lots of pats or hugs. If possible, provide a safe and quiet environment, even if it is not their own home.”
Read more from Yahoo Lifestyle:
- Family of 5, including 8-months pregnant mother, rescued from Florence floodwaters in suspenseful video
- Kind stranger leaves note and gift on Hurricane Florence evacuee’s car: ‘Florida is praying for you and your state’
- A North Carolina couple rescheduled their wedding after Hurricane Florence — and donated their flowers to cancer patients