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In The Rubble Of Their Home, A Couple Finds A New Best Friend

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez
Brandon Olivarez and Tesa Rutherford tend to Harvey, a puppy they found cowering in their backyard in Rockport after the storm, at the Delco Center in Austin.

For some people, Hurricane Harvey destroyed a life’s worth of memories. For others, it was their dreams that the storm interrupted. That was the case for one young couple who had just gotten engaged and bought a house on the Gulf Coast when the hurricane hit.

Tesa Rutherford and Brandon Olivarez moved to Rockport, Texas, just two weeks before Harvey. They bought a house there, a fixer upper that they were working on when evacuation orders were announced.

“We heard about the hurricane on Thursday,” Olivarez says, “and we left on Thursday night.”

They stayed with family in Austin until Sunday, then they decided to drive back to Rockport.

“It was crazy," Rutherford says. "Power lines were down. You had to be really careful so you didn’t drive into a power line … [or] dead cattle in the road.”

They say many of the buildings were flattened “like pancakes.” Their house was no exception.

Rutherford says they were staying in a mobile home while their house was being worked on. "Both of them were completely destroyed,” she says.

But, amazingly, something lived through it.

“We were walking around the house and I heard a puppy crying,” she says. “I went out the back yard, and he was just cowering under a tree because he was so scared.”

The couple thinks the dog survived by taking shelter under the house.

“We rescued him and brought him with us.”

The brown and black puppy now stays with them at an evacuee shelter in Austin. They’ve named him Harvey, after the storm.

They say he’s given them some purpose – and some distraction – since they’ve been displaced.

“At least we got something good out of it,” Rutherford says. “We’ve been wanting a puppy for a while.”

Mose Buchele focuses on energy and environmental reporting at KUT. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on Twitter @mosebuchele.
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