Tennessee volunteers tackle Texas sized Harvey animal rescues

Aug 31, 2017

Credit Anthony Rathbun / AP Images for The HSUS

HOUSTON, TX  (OSBORNE)  --  In addition to the many Tennessee volunteers assisting people as they recover from Hurricane Harvey's passing, a couple of mid-state residents are also in the Texas supporting four-legged storm survivors.

Rowdy Shaw and Troy Snell are animal rescue specialists working with the Humane Society of the United States. Even before Harvey blew itself out, they were on the road headed west with supplies and equipment, including swift water rescue gear.

Rowdy Shaw says he’s worked a number of disasters since joining the Humane Society a decade ago, but he says Harvey is definitely in a class by itself.

“Water’s taking longer to drain out, and then it’s re-flooding in certain places. This is up there as one of those disasters that we’ll talk about for years. This has been…just painful.”

Shaw says the work is dirty, dangers, exhausting and stressful, but he also says there are rewards. For example, he says getting to witness the moment people who’ve lost everything are reunited with pets they feared dead is beyond heartwarming.

He also says disasters tend to bring communities closer.

“The plus about it is watching people come together, communities come together, and actually work and figure out how to get these animals out of harm’s way. …it’s awesome to watch communities come together to accomplish rescue.”

One of the more memorial rescues so far? Shaw’s team discovered a dog that had been balancing in flood water,on a piece of floating plywood, in a dark garage, without food, for two days.

Would you like to learn more about the Humane Society's Hurricane Harvey animal rescue efforts?

Here's a story WMOT did last year on HSUS rescue specialist Troy Snell.