In September 2018, in the wake of Hurricane Florence, HSMO’s Disaster Response Team spent a week in North Carolina performing animal rescue operations on the ground and in the water.
Soshe a young Maltese has made the news as one of the greatest Florence Hurricane Survivors. A hurried last-minute exit from Burgaw, North Carolina saw the young pup left in the vulnerable neighborhood by her family. The family, fearing for her life, called The Pender county animal rescue office seeking a team to check out the neighborhood for her. With the high waters, the possibility of spotting one dog in the flooded neighborhood was extremely low.
The family managed to get in touch with a rescue team from HSMO led by Chad Gard. The team was dedicated to visiting accessible neighborhoods to extract any survivors including cats and horses. With only roofs visible, locating Soshe’s house was a difficult task even for the dedicated team. Daily frantic calls from the family were met with the same answer ” the whole neighborhood is under water.” However, the search bore fruit when the team was finally able to trace Soshe’s house from the flooded neighborhood.
The team moving on a boat was met by so many hurdles including a broken Mortar which saw them paddle through the neighborhood to a house that matched the description given by the family. They determined the exact home using a partially visible house number covered by over 5 feet of water. The team had to swim and wade through the high waters towards the house.
The boat could not access the compound. Gard and Jessica, his HSMO teammate, waded through the high waters to the compound when they heard Soshe Barking. She was quite a fighter, with a week in the cold waters, her cry was quite loud according to Gard which saw the rescuers struggle to break the door to save her. They managed to get a narrow opening that would allow one person to swim into the flooded living room.
The dog was still trapped on a Couch in the living room when they got the door open. The dog had been floating on the couch with the rising waters all through the hard times. Despite the week-long streak, Soshe was in a great shape. The only way to get her out of the house was to have a member of the team literally swim through the narrow opening to grab her from the coach.
Gard swam Soshe back to the boat and into the safe hands of The Animal rescue center in Pender County awaiting her family’s return. According to Gard, this was one of the great Survivors of Florence joining many other dogs, cats and horses the team had to rescue around North Carolina.