Heartwarming stories of people rescuing animals from Hurricane Dorian

James Pasley
A volunteer looks for the owner of a dog he rescued from the rising waters of Hurricane Dorian,

Ramon Espinosa / AP


  • It's not just humans reeling from Hurricane Dorian. Animals are drenched and windswept, too.
  • While there are a few heartbreaking tales, most people struggling with the hurricane have gone above and beyond to keep animals safe and secure.
  • One woman in the Bahamas took in nearly 100 dogs. In Florida, a shelter found homes for 250 cats and dogs in less than a week.
  • Another man nicknamed "hurricane cowboy," is venturing into hurricane damaged areas to save animals.
  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

Hurricane Dorian is a terrible storm, but it's mobilized animal lovers.

Heartwarming tales have been coming out of the destruction. One woman in the Bahamas selflessly took in nearly 100 dogs to her home. A shelter in Florida temporarily homed 250 cats and dogs in less than a week. Another man, nicknamed "hurricane cowboy," has ventured out into damaged areas to help save vulnerable animals.

Of course, not all pets and animals have not had an easy time of it. Flooding in the Bahamas likely killed many animals, and a rare bird that inhabited the islands may have gone extinct.

Here's how animals have fared in Hurricane Dorian.

The Bahamas was one of the worst-hit from Hurricane Dorian. During the storm, six employees at the Humane Society of Grand Bahama remained behind to care for 200 animals. But the building flooded and they had to escape. The employees made it out, but they had to leave the animals behind. Somehow, 120 of the animals survived.

Ramon Espinosa / AP

Source: ABC Action News



In Nassau, a woman named Chella Phillips took in 97 dogs during the storm. Almost 80 of them went, tails wagging, to take cover in her master bedroom. When the dogs were scared during the storm, Phillips used air conditioning and music to keep them calm. People have been so impressed, they've already donated more than $250,000 to help.

FundRazr/Graciela Phillips

Sources: Insider, NBC, Fundrazr

 



Many owners evacuated with their pets, too. Here, Julia Aylen carries her pet dog through waist-deep water in Freeport, Bahamas, on Tuesday, September 3.

AP Photo/Tim Aylen

Source: AP



And some pets rescued their owners. In Nassau, Sandra Cooke told the New York Times her sister-in-law, Angela Cooke, was trapped under the roof of her collapsed home on the Abaco Islands for 17 hours, before the family dog found her and they were able to get Angela out.

Screenshot/CBS News

Sources: Insider, The New York Times



In Florida, the Humane Society of the United States has shown how to work efficiently. By Sunday they had organized a chartered flight for 80 animals from three different shelters. This way shelters would be ready for a surge of animals after the storm. According to the director of the society, who is no doubt always looking for new adoptive families, "A lot of these animals are big dogs with lots of love to give, and they will make fantastic family members.”

Meredith Lee / Humane Society International / AP

Source: People.com



In Jacksonville, 250 dogs and cats were found temporary homes within a week before Dorian had even hit. People came together to do what they could, and the animals were taken in by temporary foster parents, called "Storm Troopers." CEO Denise Deisler told CNN it showed how Jacksonville and its residents were used to dealing with hurricanes: "We've gotten an awful lot of practice."

Jewel Samad / AFP / Getty

Source: CNN

 



In Miami, Animal Rescue found and took in 17 dogs left chained to trees or fences, or simply wandering around the streets, after their owners abandoned them ahead of the storm. Luckily, they were able to find foster homes for all of the dogs.

Wilfredo Lee / AP

Source: Miami New Times



In Orange County, police found an adorable drenched surprise in an abandoned car. Inside, a little frightened puppy had been left behind. Due to the timing, the police had no choice but to name her Dorian. And if no owner comes forward, the deputy who found the puppy is going to adopt her.

Facebook/Orange County Sheriff's Office, Florida

Source: Orlando Sentinel

 



Patrick McKann, a horse trainer and former bull rider from Virginia, is known as the "hurricane cowboy," and has a reputation for helping save animals in storms. This year, he went to Morehead City, North Carolina, to clear out an animal shelter, since it was severely flooded last year. He got his nickname in 2017, when he went to Wilmington during Hurricane Harvey and saved animals in the worst affected areas.

Tony Gutierrez / AP

Sources: WTKR, CNN, WTKR



Wild horses are a little less dependent on human intervention. On North Carolina's barrier islands, the fate of 100 wild horses is not a concern for authorities. Corolla Wild Horse herd manager Meg Puckett told OBX Today that during the worst of the storm, they would huddle together with their butts to the wind to keep themselves stable.

Dennis W Donohue/Shutterstock

Sources: OBX Today, Charlotte Observer, CNN, Insider



But Dorian is being called an ecological disaster for wildlife in the Bahamas. The storm may have caused a bird called the Bahama Nuthatch to go extinct. Since 2004 the species had steadily declined from 1,800 down to 23 in 2007, and possibly to just two in 2018. Now scientists fear the hurricane has wiped the bird out completely.

Tom Benson / Flickr

Sources: Newsweek, Earther