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.




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.




On social media, people were blown away by the men's heroism:




And of course, many felt for the pets themselves:






But many were upset by what they saw as pet abandonment:




But mostly, people were relieved that these furry friends were rescued, and heartened by a ray of goodwill in this frightening disaster.





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.

H/T HuffingtonPost, ABC4 News