LOCAL Houston | The City Guide October 2017 - Page 53

FOOD | ARTS | COMMUNITY | STYLE+LEISURE Monday, August 28, Anthony Rathbun heads to Rockport with the Humane Society. CHAPTER TWO. SAVING THE ANIMALS By Anthony Rathbun | Photography by Anthony Rathbun Hurricane Harvey had barely been in Houston for 24 hours when emails first came in from an associate at The Associated Press (AP). They put me on standby to document a HUMANE SOCIETY OF THE UNITED STATES (HSUS) Animal Rescue Team (ART) engaging in animal rescue operations near Texas City. With no distinct address ahead and no confirmed lodging, details came as I drove South Monday. The fury of the storm already hit Rockport and Port Aransas. The Galveston and Houston areas’ consistent rain had many regions along my drive flooded or flooding. I had a full tank of gas and an extra can, a non-perishable food stash, protective clothing, knee-high hunting boots, camera, computer and 6.9 inches of vehicle ground clearance. My drive was 4.5 hours from The Heights to a Kemah hotel. My main HSUS contact booked me in one of the last rooms available. I was to rendezvous with the HSUS ART at 8am the next day. We’d be travelling to Dickinson Bayou Animal Services. What I thought would be a one-three day job ended up spanning six days. What follows are some of the observations and experiences I had during that time. And to be clear, these are just the animal rescues our HSUS team accomplished. There were countless more teams working throughout the Greater Houston and East Texas region. Everyone I met on the ART was unique. Their shared bond was a deep care for animal well-being. Clad in dry suits up to their necks, the ART would work in rain, shin- to chest-deep water, in homes as well as trailers heavily dank with rotting items, mold, garage chemicals and all the other things typically found in flood water. As a team, we were able to rescue many animals; the HSUS orga- nization’s other teams rescued countless more. The first animal rescued was a gray, black and white cat reported missing by its owner, and found hiding just behind a mattress which had floated off the frame near a wall in a child’s room. Placed safely in a carrier, the cat was taken out to a local animal service truck that had followed as close as open roads would let them. The local service would ferry the cat to the shelter to be fed and rehabili- tated till reunited with its owner. continued 10 . 2017 | L O C A L 53