MENU
component-ddb-728x90-v1-01-desktop

Rockport couple rescues puppy who survived Harvey alone

Harvey and his new owners are joining hundreds of others seeking shelter in Austin. (CBS Austin)

About 600 storm victims are finding refuge in Austin's shelters as of Monday night. The number of people temporarily calling Austin home is expected to grow into the thousands by the end of the week.

The Delco Center is a walk-up shelter housing close to 200 people who need a warm, dry place to stay. It's also the only shelter accepting pets-- which is lucky for two evacuees who became the unexpected owners of a four-legged storm victim.

Brandon Olivarez and his fiancé, Tesa Rutherford, moved from Bastrop to Rockport earlier this month. "Kind of a bad time to move out there," says Olivarez in hindsight. Sunday night they went back to see the damage.

"There's no service for phones to call out or anything. All of the electric wires are down. Poles broken down. Cattle in the road -- dead -- laying down in the road. It's a tragedy to see," he says.

Their home is destroyed, but the trip back suddenly had a greater purpose when they made a rescue in their own backyard.

"[Tesa] heard him crying and she ran back there and said, 'we got a puppy,'" recalls Olivarez.

Under a tree, all alone and just a couple months old was a scared and hungry but unbelievably strong dog. Now he has a new name that reflects his strength.

"My fiance decided to name him Harvey after the hurricane," Olivarez says.

Harvey and his new owners are joining hundreds of others seeking shelter in Austin until it's time to rebuild. City and county leaders say central Texas will be a place of recovery for weeks and months to come.

"This is not a short term effort. This is a long term effort and we're going to need everybody in this room working together for a long period of time," says Precinct 1 Travis County Commissioner Jeff Travillion.

"It's just a lot going through our minds right now. A lot going through our hearts," says Olivarez.

Major cities across the state are gearing up to taking in thousands of storm evacuees in the coming days. The City of Austin could be accepting as many as 7,000 people.

Trending