These Heroes Rescued Pets Trapped in Florence Floodwaters

Hurricane Florence has claimed the lives of at least 37 people so far, as well as millions of farm animals, but these are some of the lucky pets that didn’t become statistics thanks to the actions of good Samaritans.

Six Dogs Saved from Drowning in Kennel

It’s bad enough when people leave their pets behind when evacuating their homes prior to a hurricane, but what’s even more unconscionable is when they lock those pets inside kennels or chain them to poles, giving them no†possibility of swimming to safety as the floodwaters rise.

Six dogs in Leland, N.C. were about to drown inside their kennel when two volunteer rescuers, Ryan Nichols and David Rebollar, and freelance reporter, Marcus DiPaolatheir, heard their howls. The three were rescuing people by boat and decided to investigate where the ruckus was coming from.

“The dogs were almost underwater,” Nichols told NBC News. “Within an hour, they would have been dead.” A video DiPaola recorded and posted on Twitter has been viewed more than eight million times.

When Hurricane Harvey struck Texas in September 2017, Nichols’ home and business were damaged. That inspired him and Rebollar to help other hurricane victims around the country, including those in North Carolina. How fortunate that these heroes happened to be in the right place at the right time.

64 Dogs and Cats Escape in a School Bus

Tony Alsup, a truck driver who lives in Greenback, Tenn., drove an old yellow school bus to South Carolina as Florence was making its way to the state. His mission: To visit animal shelters and rescue as many dogs and cats as he could fit inside the bus.

Thanks to Alsup, 53 dogs and 11 cats†escaped safely†from four shelters to a shelter in Alabama. Some have already been adopted, while others will be relocated to shelters throughout the country where they will hopefully find loving forever homes. Alsup refers to the pets he chooses to rescue as “leftovers”.

“Itís so easy for people to adopt the small pets and the cuties and the cuddly,” he told Greenville News. ďWe take on the ones that deserve a chance even though they are big and a little ugly. But I love big dogs, and we find places for them.”

Like Nichols and Rebollar, Alsup began his rescue efforts during Hurricane Harvey in Texas last year. Since then, he’s rescued animals after devastating hurricanes in Florida and Puerto Rico. He bought the school bus so he could bring supplies to hurricane-affected areas and then refill it with dozens of homeless animals.

“Animals ó especially shelter pets ó they always have to take the back seat of the bus. But Iíll give them their own bus,” Alsup told the Washington Post. “If I have to Iíll pay for all the fuel, or even a boat, to get these dogs out of there.”

Injured Therapy Dog Saved by TV News Reporter

As Julie Wilson, a reporter for WTVD in Raleigh, N.C., was recording a Facebook Live video in the town of New Bern, she saw a woman struggling to lift a large, injured rottweiler from floodwater that was up to her knees.

Wilson asked the woman if she thought that was safe.

“It’s my daughter’s therapy dog. I have no choice,” the woman, who said her name was Tasha, replied.

Tasha told Wilson the dog could be carried, so Wilson handed Tasha her camera and picked up the dog, carrying him to a safer area.

“Nobody is leaving the dog in this mess,” Wilson said. “Thatís what we are doing out here.”

How to Help Victims of Hurricane Florence

The people and animals affected by Hurricane Florence need our help. Check out these tips from Care2 writer s.e. smith to see what you can do.

Photo credit: Daily Mail/YouTube


Justin M
Justin M1 months ago


hELEN h1 months ago


Julie D
Julie D2 months ago

Bless these wonderful people for trying to rescue these poor animals. How could anyone abandon their pet and leave it to die? I could never ever do that. If I had a means of escape my pet would be coming with me. So sad how many pets and farm animals perished in the floods.

Sharonsick R
Sharon R2 months ago

I agree with Glennis. God Bless them. Thank you.

Georgina Elizab M
Georgina Elizab M2 months ago

Thank You for the Positive Information. There are good people out there.

Patty L
Patty L2 months ago

wonderful info! tyfs

Nicole H
Nicole Heindryckx2 months ago

@ Anna Ballinger : This would indeed be a very great idea. And I am sure that a lot of people would gladly foster these dogs and cats for a week, or even 2 or 3 until people were re-settled a bit. But has anyone thought of asking this via local radio, television or on FB. I don't think they did. They just waited and waited ... and then it was too late.
May be it would be a GREAT idea that an organization wld investigate the deaths of all these animals, and if it was effectively due to pure negligence (like the 6 dogs) the owners should NOT GET THEIR ANIMALS BACK AND SHOULD PAY A FINE OF AT LEAST $ 5,000 per animal. Many years ago, in Holland (W. Europe) they had the biggest overflow ever. But all the farmers had worked together with others, living 20/30 km. away, and were temporarily placed in a meadow until they could return to their owners. There must be some good will with people, and then, a lot can be achieved. Now the Government easily pay the farmers an indemnification for their losses, so why should they make an effort. Before, a farmer loved his animals. Now, farmers just have animals for the $$$$$. That's what is making monsters of these people !!

michela c
michela c2 months ago

Great people, they are heroes, thank you!

Nicole Heindryckx
Nicole Heindryckx2 months ago

@ Karen H : I had never heard about that story. Sorry to say, but I have tears in my eyes. How can you - as a person who has to take care of the people of his community, do something so horrible. Leaving a blind and old dog behind, and telling the old man : " we can not take him with us". Where were these Police men educated ? Did they effectively have their certificate to "play" a policeman ?? Well, then certainly there were some very important items missing in this course. Something about empathy or compassion... They are not afraid of using their guns. But to open their hearts ? Oh No, never heard of !!
They should have been dismissed and pay the old man a serious amount to get him a new dog. That would have been fair !!

Nicole Heindryckx
Nicole Heindryckx2 months ago

Heartwarming that some GREAT people leave their jobs or whatever they had to do that day, for what it was, and went out to rescue people and abandoned pets. I hate people who left the 6 dogs in their kennel, with the doors locked. As water was coming higher and higher in a min. of time, they most probably would not have lived another hour !!!! Can you be considered a human being then ?? NO ! In very extreme circumstances some single, disabled people can encounter difficulties to bring their animal in safety. But may be this is for 1 in 10,000 people. All the rest are just too lazy, not interested, and have a stone heart to leave their best friends behind. We chose a dog or cat to be our friend until his/her last breath. But the moment they have to do an extra effort, they just think of themselves.
Hurricane Florence was announced days aforehand. So, it was not a surprise, and by making a few phone calls in due time, you wld certainly have found someone who could help you.
I'm really happy so many many others were rescued thanks to these 2 people, the man who collected a bus full of dogs and cats, and the one who carried the big service dog for that woman. THERE ARE STILL HEROES ON THIS PLANET. EILAS, NOT ENOUGH