As Hurricane Harvey has played out in real time over social media, the internet has been gripped by images and videos coming out of Houston and surrounding areas, with both gut-wrenching and heartwarming moments going viral.
We’ve seen people get rescued thanks to the power of tweets and have been devastated by pictures of ones who didn’t make it out alive. Just watching can be an emotional roller coaster, and sometimes we need something lighthearted to regain our emotional balance. That’s why Texas Army National Guard member Josiah Meharg shared to Imgur a collection of animals he’d rescued from Harvey. It instantly became one of the most popular collections on the image-sharing site, racking up over a quarter million views. People loved the pictures of very good dogs (and one stray pig) getting help escaping the rising waters.
Meharg told the Daily Dot he did it to help give a little hope to the people of Texas. “This post was meant to be encouraging to those worried about the animals left behind,” he wrote. “Seeing so many people relieved has helped me cope with the ones we were too late to rescue or couldn’t reach.”
Meharg, who is from San Marcos, says he got to Houston with a team of approximately 12 on Saturday as part of the first wave of rescue and relief. The scene down there, he said, matches up with pictures you’ve been seeing on social. Catastrophic.
“The extent of the flood is beyond imagination. And only today [Wednedsay night] did the rain finally stop,” he added. “We were soaked for days but didn’t let it get our spirits down.”
The animals he’s rescued have run the gamut of dog breeds: pit bulls, German shepherds, Great Danes, Shih Tzus, and a personal favorite, an old pit bull named Wiggles. He’s also picked up some cats along the way. But better than the support on the web, he’s been buoyed by the spirits of the people in town.
“Most people were reluctant to leave their homes. [There were] worried about looters and leaving everything they’ve worked for but once they were out of their neighborhoods and saw the massiveness of the floods they had a change of heart. Everyone we have picked up has been so brave,” Meharg said. “No one seemed scared or panicked. Us Texans are strong and these people were a perfect example of that.”
It sounds like both people and pups alike are in good hands.