The human toll of a natural disaster is always the first thing discussed in the aftermath. But what about the pets that get left behind?
New viral videos taken this weekend during Hurricane Florence give us a glimpse into our furry friends' experiences with the storm.
Matthew Drake, pastor at Richlands United Pentecostal Church in Jacksonville, North Carolina, set out in a boat with Leroy McGee and another parishioner, to seek out any people who'd been unable to evacuate and may need rescuing. What they ended up finding were two frightened dogs and two nervous cats unsure what to do in the rising waters. The video was posted by CBS News' Adriana Diaz.
HAPPENNING NOW: Pastor rescues kittens & dogs left behind in Jacksonville, NC where flooding has started. More on… https://t.co/5VbQlfFjZX— Adriana Diaz (@Adriana Diaz)1536957089.0
In the video, Drake and his parishioners find two dogs on a porch of an abandoned home, barking nervously. The waters are nearly over the top of the porch. At first, the dogs seem reluctant to come with Drake and McGee, but it doesn't take much coaxing for them to join the men.
Once the men got the dogs to safety, they went back to rescue two cats they'd found clinging to a ledge on another abandoned home.
Matthew Drake and Sean Boggs went into deeper water in the water by boat and found pets left behind: https://t.co/M5RjOIWAAe— CBS This Morning (@CBS This Morning)1537013403.0
On social media, people were blown away by the men's heroism:
@CBSThisMorning We always forget the voiceless amidst the chaos. But a kind heart from a kind Man touches the voice… https://t.co/wcy8e0T1B1— MangoMan (@MangoMan)1537070972.0
@CBSThisMorning HEROES— heidi jo bean (@heidi jo bean)1537054764.0
@adrianasdiaz @CBSEveningNews This is so good!! The world needs more heroes like this pastor.— SocialNN Utah (@SocialNN Utah)1536963117.0
And of course, many felt for the pets themselves:
@adrianasdiaz @CBSEveningNews That sweet pittie looks like she had a litter recently. Poor pups. Hugging my fur bab… https://t.co/etAgIEsfc9— Sylvia Stern (@Sylvia Stern)1537077351.0
@adrianasdiaz @CBSNews @CBSEveningNews I feel sorriest for the animals in all disasters like this.😢— mlm (@mlm)1536983837.0
@adrianasdiaz @CBSNews @CBSEveningNews Those dogs were so happy to see them— Ashlee (@Ashlee)1536971684.0
He and two others were able to save dogs stranded on a porch and a cat who was swimming in the water. Poor kitties… https://t.co/0OkKgtPJG9— Devin Nunes @ICEgov Investigation (@Devin Nunes @ICEgov Investigation)1537059554.0
But many were upset by what they saw as pet abandonment:
@adrianasdiaz @CBSNews @CBSEveningNews My God, who ties their dogs on for a hurricane? I hope those poor darlings… https://t.co/fIwccMZzxw— carmel (@carmel)1536967719.0
@adrianasdiaz @CBSEveningNews This is so sad!! How can one leave their pets like that?? Poor God bless the pastor!— Rosana (@Rosana)1536967924.0
@adrianasdiaz @CBSNews @CBSEveningNews NEVER would I leave my pets behind!! NEVER! And I've been through many hurricanes. Unimaginable 😡— 🖤💛 Justine 💛🖤 (@🖤💛 Justine 💛🖤)1536968984.0
But mostly, people were relieved that these furry friends were rescued, and heartened by a ray of goodwill in this frightening disaster.
@adrianasdiaz @CBSNews @CBSEveningNews God will bless these guys.😇🙏🐶🐱— Linda J Freeman (@Linda J Freeman)1536965999.0
@adrianasdiaz @CBSEveningNews Thank you to the wonderful people who rescued all of the animals left behind !! My he… https://t.co/SQP1XlkRKK— SLDJones (@SLDJones)1536972034.0
Thank you! 💙 https://t.co/JsSGheCMh2— El Couto (@El Couto)1537083886.0
Florence made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane and has since weakened to a tropical storm. So far, there have been multiple deaths and nearly a million people without power. With floodwaters expected to break records, Drake and his compatriots may want to keep their boat at the ready.