April Casey was on a mission to rescue some cats as the floodwaters rose in Kinston, North Carolina, when she found the shortcut she had tried to take blocked. The road completely impassable because of the floodwaters, April tried to figure out what to do next.
Little did she know this frustration would end up being a blessing in disguise.
As April got out of her car to try to figure out where to go next, she heard panicked barking coming from a house nearby. She knew she couldn’t ignore the cries, so she headed over to see where all the noise was coming from.
When she got to the house, her heart broke. Eighteen dogs were trapped – some inside the house, others in a kennel outside – while the water rose around them. If they didn’t get out soon, they would all drown.
April knew she couldn’t leave them.
“We could hear them,” she said. “There was at least eight in the pen. And they were standing on the doghouse, but we couldn’t leave them, at all.”
April enlisted the help of her family and they used a jet ski and some jon boats borrowed from some other rescue volunteers to get up to the house where the dogs were.
For about 90 minutes, the rescuers worked to get the dogs out of the house and the pens. Some of the dogs tried to run away out of fear and at least one collapsed, trembling, but thankfully the rescue workers were able to get the dogs to safety.
It was scary and exhausting work, but April insists it was all worth it.
“I love dogs. I love animals, period,” she said. “They can’t save themselves. There was some locked in the house, and the one that was hurt was locked up underneath the steps. Some of them were in kennels, some of them weren’t. There was just a lot of them back there.”
While it seems cruel that these dogs’ owners would abandon them to face the flood waters alone, April believes their intentions were actually good. The area where the house is located was believed to be on high ground and safe from flooding until this week. Unfortunately, Hurricane Florence has redefined what areas are truly “safe.”
So far, 10 of the dogs have been reunited with their grateful owners. April planned to take the unclaimed dogs to a local fire department where they would hopefully be reunited with their families soon.
Veronica Henderson, who was reunited with her Shih Tzu, named Grandpaw, will never forget what April did for her.
“My baby,” she said as she cradled Grandpaw. “I didn’t know if my dog was going to be underwater, or what.”
This hurricane has brought so much devastation and tragedy to the area, but we are thankful for stories like this one that shine a light in the darkness.
April and her fellow rescuers are true heroes, and we thank them!
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