Tragedy brings out the best in people. Certainly, the flooding in Texas classifies as a tragedy and Texans are showing the very best part of themselves in helping those that are less fortunate.
Along with the thousands of people that are homeless due to the rising waters are even higher numbers of abandoned pets that find themselves on their own; seeking high ground and often finding themselves trapped with nowhere left to run.
Those are the lucky ones. Rescue workers are out in boats every day looking for abandoned animals as well as human survivors. News reports are filled with heartwarming stories of daring life-saving rescues of both humans and animals.
Sadly, too many owners consider pets as “disposable” so there are also far too many reports of rescue workers finding the bodies of animals.
Their humans left them tied to trees and porches or in cages when they hurriedly escaped the storm’s path.
Animal rescue groups from across the country are working around the clock to get surviving animals out of harm’s way.
Many are being carried by truck, car and airplane to foster homes around the country to be cared for until they can be reunited with their families.
Kennels and vet clinics in the area are overflowing with animals tucked away by their owners until they can have them back at their side.
Most emergency shelters will not accept pets along with their humans. That’s usually one of the main reasons that make people choose to stay in their homes and hope for the best.
A responsible loving pet owner would never abandon their pet just because it was difficult to take them along.
The George R Brown Convention Center, like many other facilities across Texas was opened for evacuees. But, like most others wouldn’t let anyone come inside with a pet.
As a result, photos of long lines of people standing and sitting on the sidewalk outside in the rain with their pets started showing up on social media.
One Houston man is showing that his heart is bigger than Texas. He saw the photos and realized that people who had lost everything already were still out in the elements because they wouldn’t abandon their pets too. So, he went on Facebook and invited everyone and their pets to come seek shelter in his furniture store.
According to TIME, Gallery Furniture, a Houston-based chain store owned by Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale, opened two of its locations — one north of downtown, and the other west of the city in Richmond, TX — to residents and their pets seeking shelter as the storm forced them out of their homes.
People who know McIngvale were not surprised by his generosity. He is well known for his charitable work. But this offer goes above and beyond.
Not only did he offer his building space to victims, but he left the furniture, including bedding, chairs and tables, for use by those seeking shelter. He also put his delivery trucks on the road helping people save whatever possible from their storm-ravaged homes.
He understood that to most responsible pet owners, their pets are a major source of comfort. And he realized that they needed their pets by their side now more than ever. That was the reason he included their pets in his generous offer.
People and their pets flocked to take advantage of his generosity. The only thing McIngvale asked in return was that people keep their pets kenneled and by their side.
For someone who faced having to make the choice of saving their own lives by abandoning their pets or possibly dying beside them, his offer was literally a life-saver.
The after-effects of Harvey will haunt the people of Texas for a very long time. It is estimated that about 30,000 people will seek shelter as a result of the disastrous flooding, the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Those people’s lives will never be the same. Some have lost some, some lost most. Some have lost all. They will all be haunted by the memories. None of them will ever forget the dramas that unfolded as the storm raged on.
Neither will they forget the kind hearts and helping hands that helped them make it through the storm emotionally and with hands-on offers of help. Especially the ones that worked so hard to make sure that their families were able to stay together, including their four-footed members of the family.
Those whose lives were touched by McIngvale’s generosity will certainly never forget him. I’m sure that when they start rebuilding their lives, there is no question where they will go to purchase furniture for their new beginning.