Hundreds of animals were left stranded in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. Many weren't linked back to any original owners, so they were flown out of the state on planes to shelters around the U.S.
Earlier this month on the tarmac, a helicopter pilot from Colorado happened upon one of these planes. She met her new best friend that day.
Emily King flies Chinook helicopters for the Colorado Army National Guard. She, her husband, and her 6-year-old border collie, Zazu, live in Fort Carson. She was one of 12 assigned to go to Houston to help.
"As we flew over Houston, it was very clear what areas were impacted the worst," she said. "Whole neighborhoods underwater...roads completely covered."
Her crew flew from location to location, bringing supplies to those who needed it most.
"They couldn't get out of the cities or into the cities any other way than boat or helicopter," she said. "We were there primarily to transport supplies."
On her crew's last day in Houston, they started helping out a team of Humane Society workers load a plane full of stranded animals.
"I was really struck by the mission and the amount of effort they had put into this," King said. "It was the third time that they were flying pets out via plane."
That's when she met a puppy, appropriately named Hurricane by the Humane Society.
"He was just so sweet and quiet and he was dirty," she said. "Something about Hurricane, maybe his dog spirit, attracted me to him...I wanted...to finish my actual job successfully but also bring Hurricane home with me."
King asked the Humane Society workers if she could adopt him right then and there. Hurricane didn't have a microchip, a collar, or any link to a family before the storm. So the Humane Society said yes.
There was too much cargo in King's helicopter to bring the pup along, so a shelter in Dallas, called Humane Tomorrow, held him in the meantime. From there, a volunteer with the Humane Society drove Hurricane to Colorado Springs to be reunited with King when she returned.
"My husband and I are very glad to have Hurricane as a part of our family," King said. "We look forward to...getting his health concerns taken care of and starting to integrate him into living inside a house."
King brought Hurricane to the vet on Wednesday. Like people, he still has to get used to the elevation in Colorado.
As for King's other dog, he couldn't be happier about his new brother. And that's important. Hurricane was rescued alongside his actual brother. His name was Harvey.
King says, last she heard, Harvey was at an animal shelter near Seattle. But she says she's confident Harvey found a home. Her new best friend, Hurricane, certainly has.
King's mission now is to help raise money for the humane societies that helped her adopt Hurricane. Many of them are struggling financially after pouring resources into Hurricane Harvey relief.
To help the Houston Humane Society or Humane Tomorrow of Dallas, visit North Texas Giving Day's website. They'll have a fundraiser going on Thursday, September 14.
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