Days after Hurricane Harvey slammed into the Texas Gulf, both state and national forces provided search and rescue in devastated cities, such as Rockport, Beaumont and Houston.
Daniela Vega, a junior sociology major at Texas A&M University-San Antonio, packed her bags, loaded several crates into her vehicle and headed for the floodwaters in Houston.
Her mission: to rescue animals trapped in Harvey’s aftermath and transport them to their owners or situate them into new homes.
“I have been rescuing animals, dogs specifically, for two years,” Vega said.
After hearing of the worsening situation in Houston, Vega collaborated with multiple animal rescue organizations in both Houston and San Antonio.
Together with her mom and husband, Vega and her group joined Mission Miracle K9 Rescue to aid in rescue efforts during her first week of classes.
“Many dogs were left in shelters, were tied up or left in homes,” Vega said.
Student, wife and mother to a 6-month old girl, Vega, instead of heading to Port Arthur, stayed behind Labor day weekend to take care of her sick child.
“I couldn’t head out this past time but I did receive dogs, followed up with dog shelters and cleaned kennels,” Vega said. “I haven’t gotten much rest. It’s rescuing, to kid, to school and back to rescuing.”
Vega not only transports rescued animals but she also coordinates volunteers and aids in securing material needs for the rescued.
“There is an order to how we operate,” Vega said.
Based out of Bandera, Texas, Mission Miracle K9 Rescue rescues dogs from flood waters and brings them to safe locations.
Vega explained individuals then bring the dogs to Austin Pets Alive! or other shelters.
Animals are then checked to see if they are chipped so they may be returned to their owners. Those without owners are linked to shelters to be adopted.
“It was incredible seeing so many people work together to help animals,” Vega said.
According to Austin Pets Alive!, as of Aug. 28, the organization rescued 1,700 animals from multiple areas affected by Harvey.
In response to Harvey recovery efforts, some campus offices and organizations are collecting donations.
The university is collecting material donations for the Hurricane Harvey relief effort through collaboration of the Mays Center for Experiential Learning and Community Engagement, Military Affairs, Staff Council and other offices.
Physical donations such as water, nonperishable food and hygiene products can be made through Staff Council donation bins located across campus.