Betty Walter refused to leave 21 dogs behind when Hurricane Harvey flooded her Houston home over the weekend. She was stuck in her attic with the 21 dogs and no way out. Betty, who is an animal lover and foster caregiver, found herself in the dangerous predicament after she refused to leave the dogs behind when rescue crews came by, but wouldn’t take the dogs.
Betty had her 4 dogs, 11 dogs from rescues, and one she was pet sitting for a friend, at her home on Saturday when the storm hit. She also took in a few stragglers throughout the day. One small dog showed up at her home, two others were from two homeless people who asked if she could care for them, and two others came from a neighbor. But it’s the ones she couldn’t rescue that broke her heart.
“I don’t think I will ever forget those cries for help from dogs in my neighborhood. A lot [of] people kept their dogs outside. I tried so hard to go rescue a couple. The water was too high. They cried for hours…I stayed [in my home] until I got help,” Betty wrote on Facebook.
When rescuer crews first came through on Saturday, their priority was people, not pets. But Walter couldn’t abandon the dogs in her care. She told Click2Houston she understood why rescue crews put human lives first, but said “it was scary”.
As the floodwaters rose to over 4 feet in her home, Betty took the 21 dogs up to her attic to wait for rescue.
She spent the entire day and night in the attic with the dogs until help finally arrived on Sunday in the form of two Good Samaritans with a boat.
Two men were going through her neighborhood with a boat to help a woman who had a stomach pump, only to learn she already had been saved. That’s when they happened upon Betty.
“They saw me in need, and the guy said, ‘We’re going to load all the dogs….We’re not going to separate you or the dogs,” she told the news station.
She was concerned that the dogs may not all fit on their one boat.
“I was worried there was too many dogs on the boat and it would [tip] over,” Betty said. “I told them I would stay behind and for them to make two trips. They said, ‘NO we are taking all [of] you.’ We had 21 dogs on this boat. No place for any humans on this boat. We had to walk in water over my head to get out.”
It was a terrible ordeal, but Betty is grateful she and her dogs are all safe. She updated everyone afterwards:
“We remain safe and dry. So many people stepped up and donated to me and my immediate needs are met. If you would still like to help, please consider a donation to Bay Area Pet Adoptions. BAPA is the only no kill shelter in Galveston County. It is because of the support of this organization that I was able to shelter these dogs.”
Betty added that members of BAPA have helped her walk the dogs and provided the medicine and supplies to cover their care. She also said one of their volunteers took her and her neighbor and his dog into their home.
It’s so fortunate that those wonderful people came by to save Betty and her dogs! There are some truly selfless and brave human beings doing their best to help others in need during this terrible catastrophe.