Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Firefighters' Dog Rescue Goes Viral, But Pets Still Lost After Austin Flood

Preston Culver, Austin Fire Department
This photo of Austin firefighters Matt Harvey and Michael Cooper rescuing a dog named Panda went viral on Facebook – but the Humane Society has still yet to identify the dog’s owner. ";s:

More than 120 pets have been brought in to the Austin Humane Society since the city's Halloween floods.

Some were rescued from the water – as seen in this photo of a dog rescue that’s been shared 7,700 times on Facebook. Others were dropped off by their owners, who need a safe place for their animals to stay while they get back on their feet.

Humane Society spokesperson Kelly Hanes says dozens of animals have been reunited with loved ones. But many others remain unclaimed – including Panda, the German Shepherd-type dog seen hugging an Austin firefighter as he carried her from the flood waters.

“Her photo has gone viral,” Hanes says. “I just got a phone call from the Austin Fire Department a couple of minutes ago. I get one about every day. They really care for that dog and they want to know that she’s doing okay and they’re putting the word out too to help us find the owner.”

The Humane Society will remain closed for general adoptions until at least the middle of next week.

The city-run Austin Animal Center has also turned to social media to get the word out about lost pets.

The center is operating a continuously updated Twitter feed with lists of animals that have come into the shelter in a 30-minute period. Many of the updates include photos of the animals.

Patricia Fraga with the City of Austin says it’s an easy and effective way for owners of lost pets to check with the shelter.

“Every 30 minutes someone, if they’ve lost a pet, you know they can go to @austinanimals and check the Twitter feed to see if their animal is at the shelter and it gives an address and a description of the dog or the cat.”

Last month, the Austin Animal Center says it took in more than 1,400 animals. Just over 200 of those stays were returned to their owners.

The center says if your pet is lost, check with the shelter as soon as you can.

Laura first joined the KUT team in April 2012. She now works for the statewide program Texas Standard as a reporter and producer. Laura came to KUT from the world of television news. She has worn many different hats as an anchor, reporter and producer at TV stations in Austin, Amarillo and Toledo, OH. Laura is a proud graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia, a triathlete and enjoys travel, film and a good beer. She enjoys spending time with her husband and pets.
Related Content