Best Friends Blog

Hurricane Harvey

Hurricane Harvey courtesy of National Weather Service
(Image courtesy of National Weather Service)

Best Friends’ disaster response team is deploying to Texas to rescue stranded animals, deliver supplies to hard-hit shelters, transport displaced shelter pets and support emergency sheltering efforts.

Best Friends volunteers, especially those with animal-handling experience, will be notified in the coming days of specific needs and how to support our work or that of our partners as soon as the situation on the ground warrants.

Best Friends staffers John Garcia and Meg Burke are a certified Type 1 rescue team, which means that they are qualified to accompany human search and rescue teams in order to handle the associated animal situations that arise. They are qualified in swift-water, flat-water, high-angle and trench rescue and they will also engage in direct ASAR (animal search and rescue) work. John and Meg are deploying with Code-3 Associates out of Longmont, Colorado, a professional animal disaster rescue and response organization with 32 years of experience in disaster response and specialized training. Together they will constitute the most highly qualified and best-equipped animal rescue strike force in Hurricane Harvey’s impact area.

In addition to John and Meg, a team of Best Friends staff led by Marc Peralta and Tawny Hammond will arrive in Texas starting tomorrow to begin delivering emergency supplies, and transporting animals.

We know from prior experience, especially from our work in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, that it will take days and perhaps weeks to be able to fully assess the extent of the physical damage and the scope of the impact on the animals caught in this devastating situation.

Best Friends has opened our disaster response reserve fund to help in these efforts. If you want to support Best Friends’ emergency response to Hurricane Harvey, we encourage you to contribute to it now. Every penny of your gift today will be spent on Hurricane Harvey and the recovery efforts to help reunite pets with families, help animals turned into shelters find homes, and help the Houston area rescue groups and shelters rebuild and recover.

Please keep our team and all those affected by this tragedy in your thoughts and keep up with our latest reports on Best Friends’ Facebook page.

Love reading the Best Friends Blog? Make sure you never miss a post by clicking here to subscribe and receive every post right in your inbox.

Francis Battista
Best Friends Animal Society

  • Phyllis Jones-Nixon

    I was with you at katrina. i’m president of boston terrier/French bulldog rescue of Alabama. I rescue all types of dogs and can come to texas to help. would love to help again.

    • Melissa Miller

      Hi Phyllis,

      Thanks for your support! If you are interested in becoming a volunteer and assisting with relief efforts, please email Best Friends volunteers, especially those with animal handling experience, will be notified in the coming days of specific needs and how to support our work or that of our partners as soon as the situation on the ground warrants.


  • Laura Beers

    I have 2 boxes of food bowls,collars,cat scratchers,blankets. Where can I send these to? Will you be traveling down to Houston area?
    Laura Beers

    • Phyllis Jones-Nixon

      hey laura, texas or louisanna. perhaps both. I can take anything you can get together for the animals down with me.

  • Melody Frhye

    I live in Portland and I am wondering if you still need volunteers to go to Texas. I am ready and able to go. I use to work in a cat clinic and have experience with feral cats.

    • Melissa Miller

      Hi Melody,

      Please email to express your interest in volunteering. Best Friends volunteers, especially those with animal handling experience, will be notified in the coming days of specific needs and how to support our work or that of our partners as soon as the situation on the ground warrants.

      Thanks for your support!

  • Gretchen Pratt

    Am I the only one who cannot get any of the Facebook links on this page to work? I keep reading that we should see the Facebook page for updates, but the link doesn’t work.

  • Mauricio Quiroga

    I want to get involved, I am in Downtown Houston

    • Melissa Miller

      Thank you, Mauricio! We’ll be sharing more information about how folks can help over on our Facebook page ( if you want to follow along there. We hope you are staying safe!

  • Pamela Ann Meadows

    I am just me. I have days off, free flts, experience in water & land rescue. How can I help?

    • Melissa Miller

      Hi Pamela Ann,

      Thank you so much. We’ll be updating our Facebook page ( with ways people can get involved, including volunteering, in the coming days.

  • Deb Shanahan

    John Garcia…are you utilizing the resources of the original emergency response team trained by yourself of which I was a member? Deb Shanahan

  • Charlotte Pace

    Just sent a donation through my bank account to help with the efforts there. Heartbreaking for all affected, human and animals alike.

    • Melissa Miller

      Thank you for your support, Charlotte!

  • Dot Graham

    Let us know how some Houston rescuers can join your team down here to help.

    • Melissa Miller

      Hi Dot,

      We’ll be keeping our Facebook page ( updated with ways folks can help if you want to follow along there.

  • Karen Wineman Ratcliff

    Was just sent a picture of the of abandoned dogs left behind in water. Please go see post Dallas
    Dog Please get someone to help them. I am a loyal supporter!!!!!!

  • CitizenBA

    Emergency evac needed for a rescue partner from Dallas Dog RRR:
    “This is our partner rescue down in Houston. We have serval dogs in medical boarding there!
    They shared the following message with us:
    We are in serious need of help! They opened the dam north of us and we got over a foot of water overnight…and it’s still rising! They’re going to release more water from upstream and more rain is on the horizon. We’ve got to go and we’ve got to go now! We won’t leave the dogs so need help getting them out by boat. We need temporary places for them to stay as well. We will need about 20 more large crates. We’re still having trouble wrapping our heads around this and really aren’t sure where to begin. Can anyone get to us with a boat and a trailer so we can make several trips back and forth with dogs in crates?
    413 Speights Loop Road
    Hankamer, TX 77560
    Please share, we need help and we need it NOW!!!”

    and from 2 hours ago:

    THE BOATS HAVE TURNED AROUND AND WE NEED MORE BOATS. Our dogs are there and Kat & Kevin Need our help now. They have lost everything. Boats arrived and then turned around once they heard they were saving cats and dogs!!!!! Their lives matter too!!
    Our Rescue Partners in Houston have never EVER turned their back on any animals in need and today they have been disgraced when the boats turned around and refused to help all of the animals in the Medical boarding compound. Any time we have ever called Kat to get a dog from the euth list or on the streets, she has ALWAYS gone within 5 minutes. As of this moment Kat was able to remove 100 dogs from the compound and get them on a field in crates. 30 dogs and cats remain at the compound and Kat has been forcibly removed from the property and the emergency crew would not take the rest of the dogs. These dogs will not survive unless we get the word out now. Mcbeth our dog is one of those 30 dogs and Harlin is out in the field in the crate. Emergency personnel is threatening to turn every dog loose. This is it. PLEASE DO NOT BASH ANYONE ON HERE. PLEASE TAG AND SHARE–We need boats to get to Kats now! Break down the damn door break the windows ram through the gates and help save lives PLEASE. We are oofering a $3,000 reward if you can get the dogs out PLEASE HELP. These dogs will be dead in the next few hours
    DallasDogRRR can be called at 214-535-3832 for more details. There has been no word since 2 hrs ago as to the status of the animals.

  • Jennifer Provan Guiles

    Just moved to The Woodlands,Texas (just north of Houston) from California. I have several years’ experience handling animals, most recently at Calaveras County Animal Services (a Network Partner), but nearly 25 years working at vet hospitals. I would love to help any way I can!

    • Melissa Miller

      Thank you, Jennifer! Stay tuned on our Facebook page for more updates on how to get involved!

  • June Gable

    Thank you! Thank you! Especially in Texas rescue efforts. Long time supporter, love you. Maybe I can join you and rescue also, with my land in PA. Blessings

    • Melissa Miller

      We appreciate your support, June!

  • Mary Winkler

    Mr. Battista, Karina is when I first noticed BF and from then on I have supported you by donations, volunteering numerous times in Kanab and including you in my will. I am so proud that John Garcia and team is on the ground helping out with Wings of Rescue and other groups that are there. It breaks my heart to see the stranded animals. Hopefully when I retire, I will be able to be part of the groups who mobilize to help at disasters. Keep up the great work. Thank you, a proud supporter.

    • Mary Winkler


    • Melissa Miller

      We’re so appreciative of your support, Mary! Thank you for everything you do for the animals.

      Melissa Miller
      Manager, Social Communities and Content

    • Melissa Miller


      We’d love if you could contact our Planned Giving team at or call us at 435-644-2001 x4503. We want to make sure you’re included as a Forever Friend.

      Thank you again for your years of dedicated support.


  • Lindsey

    Hi, has anyone contacted Special Pals no-kill shelter in Houston on Greenhouse Road? I live close to them and it’s flooding outside the shelter, but their facebook page said no water is inside now and all dogs and cats are safe. This could change at any moment. I think they’re a Best Friends partner but not sure. Just concerned about those sweet animals….

    • Melissa Miller

      Hi Lindsey,

      Yes, our team has been in touch with Special Pals, and no help is needed at this time, though we know that could change at any moment. Thank you for checking!

      Melissa Miller
      Manager, Social Communities and Content

      • Lindsey

        Thanks for getting in touch with them! I’ve seen social media posts about kennels that are flooding and need help transporting animals. One of them is Dog’s Day Inn on Barker Cypress & highway 290. I heard the dogs were safe but can’t confirm. Bless you all for helping save the animals.

  • Watsonsmom

    Hi Team, I took the Best Friends DART training in Los Angeles, and have my FEMA certification, pet first aid and vaccines, I can get to TX if you need me. Please PM, all of my docs are at the ready!

  • SENMamc

    I am able to come and help, where to go?

    • Melissa Miller

      Hi SENMamc,

      We will be updating our Facebook page ( frequently with needs, including volunteers, so please follow along there for the latest. We appreciate your support!

      Melissa Miller
      Manager, Social Communities and Content

  • Mirah Horowitz

    Are you looking for rescue partners to take dogs?

    • Melissa Miller

      Hi Mirah,

      Not yet, though that could change at any moment. We’ve deployed a team of experts in animal sheltering, handling and transport to Texas. They are assessing needs and helping affected Network Partners with supplies, sheltering and transport. We’ll be sharing the latest needs and updates on our Facebook page ( Follow along to stay up-to-date.

      Thanks for your support!

      Melissa Miller
      Manager, Social Communities and Content

  • Rebecca N. Scott

    Who can I get in direct contact with for rescues on the ground in Houston? I created a form to submit and am starting to receive request for animal rescues. My form provides extensive detail about the type of animal, how many, location, contact information and keeps log of all of this information on a spreadsheet. I would like to be able to provide this to somebody on the ground doing rescues and I am able to work with them to follow up with the contacts. I’ve been turned away by so many that are strictly after the animal is rescued. But the form that I provide for these pet owners to request their pets be rescued provide all information needed for location of where the animal needs to be rescued and contact information following the rescue for reuniting the pets with their owners.

    • Melissa Miller

      Hi Rebecca,

      We understand this is a huge need, and we are working on a plan for families that have either lost their pet, had to evacuate without their pet or found a lost pet. As our team is just getting boots on the ground, we hope to find a solution for a central repository shortly. We’ll be posting all of the latest information on our Facebook page at, so follow along for the latest there.

      Melissa Miller
      Manager, Social Communities and Content

  • Tiffany hernandez

    I need someone to help me with finding a shelter that can rescue my dog from our apartment. We left out of town on Friday and she had enough food and water for a few days. It’s 2nd floor so I’m not concerned with it flooding but I didn’t expect to b unable to return to the city for so long. I need someone to help with getting my dog until I can return so she won’t starve in our apartment.

    • Charlotte Dion

      I would contact the apartment manager to check on your dog and replenish food and water for the short term. Wish I could offer more help.

    • Melissa Miller

      Hi Tiffany,

      We’re so sorry to hear that you had to evacuate without your dog. We are currently working on a plan for families like yours that have either lost their pet, had to evacuate without their pet or found a lost pet. As we’re our team is just getting boots on the ground, we hope to find a solution for a central repository shortly. We will be updating our Facebook page ( with all of the latest information, so please follow along there.

      In the meantime, if you’d like to email me ( the details of your situation, I can be sure it’s passed along to the right folks. We hope you’re able to get back into your neighborhood soon!

      Melissa Miller
      Manager, Social Communities and Content

  • Ja Moon

    Thank you and I will be making a donation to help with your efforts!

    • Melissa Miller

      Thanks for your support, Ja!

  • Therese Zytowiecki Kennedy

    I came to Tylertown to help you guys after Katrina. Plan to come down this time too. John is awesome!!!

    • Melissa Miller

      Thanks for your support, Therese! Stay tuned on our Facebook page ( for the latest updates on help needed, including volunteers. We appreciate your dedication!

  • jane phipps

    thank you so much! i knew texas could count on you.

  • Marilyn Telowitz

    I echo Cherry’s “Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!” I also learned of Best Friends and began following and supporting your wonderful organization in the aftermath of Katrina. I knew you would be in Texas helping this time, also. Thankfully, so much was learned and changed in the aftermath of Katrina. I have seen countless stories of folks evacuating and being rescued with their beloved animals. One even explained some hotels north of the disaster who did not normally allow pets were letting folks bring their pets to take shelter. As always, I send donations and blessings to Best Friends for all the good you always do!

    • Melissa Miller

      Thank you, Marilyn! We’re so grateful for our dedicated supporters like you.

  • Cherry Jones

    Thank you! Thank you! Tnank you! I live in Colorado with Noble Norton, but I have lots of family in Texas and some in the hard hit areas. Nortie and I just spent 5 weeks in Houston. Have a niece in Rockport. Left you a message earlier in the evening to see if you were going to send help. Texas has been devastated. I have been watching for 2 days. Texas has a lot of great rescue groups, and they began getting in gear before Harvey ever hit. But this is overwhelming. I know your help will be greatly appreciated. I began following you after your work following Katrina. Love you all and thanks a million. PS–Norton was adopted at BFAS Christmas, 2014.

    • Melissa Miller

      We appreciate your support, Cherry! Thank you for everything that you do to help the animals. And we’re so glad to hear of Norton’s forever home!