In the midst of the catastrophe in southeastern Texas, there are still scenes of compassion and hope. Animal rescue groups worked overtime to save abandoned pets endangered by the floods caused by Hurricane Harvey, reporters flagged down rescue vehicles for waterlogged trucks, and private citizens used their boats to ferry stranded residents to safety.
One of the most heartwarming scenes involved a resourceful dog carrying an entire bag of food down a flooded street.
Tiele Dockens was checking on the houses of evacuated friends and family in Sinton, Texas when she spotted the German Shepherd mix. He was walking down a rain-soaked street with an entire bag of dog food clutched in his mouth.
Dockens snapped a photo and posted it to Facebook. “It’s like he’s on a mission,” Dockens told The Washington Post. “I just thought it was so cute.”
Soon, she learned that the dog, whose name is Otis, was not a stray nor was he missing. Dockens followed him to make sure he was okay and eventually ended up at the home of Salvador Segovia. That’s where she learned about Otis’ day out.
Segovia had been watching Otis, who belongs to his grandson, Carter.
Segovia kept Otis in a screened-in porch, but when Harvey hit, Otis decided to abandon the house. That night, Segovia called to check on the dog.
“I stuck my head out yelling and yelling, and no Otis,” Segovia told The Washington Post. “The following morning, I got out and kept yelling, circled the block and everything, and nothing. We didn’t know where Otis was.”
No one knows for certain what Otis did during his brief stint of independence. All we know for sure is that he helped himself to a very large bag of Ol’ Roy dog food along the way.
Segovia thinks Otis took the food from a local lumber and building supply store.
From time to time, Otis roams around his small town, and he’s made a few friends over the years. Workers at Dairy Queen occasionally sneak him a burger, and the hardware store owners also treat him to a handful of food.
When Otis showed up to an empty store, Segovia theorizes that he helped himself to the bag. “Otis is a smart dog,” Segovia said. “He knows where to go pick up a treat.”
[pullquote]I’m thinking he picked up that dog food and he knew where it was. Nobody was there to feed him, and he picks up the dog food.[/pullquote]
When Otis got home, he simply set down the bag of food and lay on the floor.
What exactly happened on Otis’ journey will remain a secret that we can only imagine. But his viral photo provided a much-needed bit of levity in a tense and devastating situation.
In addition to providing a smile, Otis also provided inspiration to those living in the devastated areas. He weathered the storm, found a way to survive, and returned home to regroup. We hope the rest of Texas can be as resilient as Otis in this difficult time.