After thousands of people were forced to leave their homes as a result of the flooding in Houston over the weekend, many have one thing on their minds: their pets.
As the water began to rise, Thomas Hayes, 73, stayed in his house in the neighborhood of Tidwell with his five dogs. He measured the water’s climb by the height it hit on his car — first covering the tires, then the bumper, and it continued to rise. He didn’t want to leave his home without his dogs.
“I wouldn’t do it,” he says. “I wouldn’t leave without them.”
When rescuers came to pick him up, he asked them to promise that he could keep his dogs. He loaded up his four small dogs, Shih Tzu mixes, in a metal trash can on top of a pile of dog food, so that he could float them on top of the water. His German shepherd mix had to swim.
Age slows Hayes’ mobility, making it difficult for him to move, much less carry his dogs through thigh-deep water. He held onto all of the dogs on the long, uncomfortable ride in the back of a dump truck to the George R. Brown Convention Center, where they took him to temporary shelter.
Photos: Claire Harbage and Ryan Kellman/NPR