Natural disasters are incredibly stressful events that require immediate action to survive. People often leave their belongings, their house, and sometimes even their pets behind in order to seek a safe haven. Once their guardians leave, dogs and cats have no other choice but to try to survive themselves. Sometimes that means escaping their home and trying to find help from humans elsewhere. Other times it’s staying in the house and trying to find a safe spot to wait until their family comes back. And every once in a while, they have to simply wait and hope that a kind person will come and save them.

For many of the animals that were left behind in the wake of Hurricane Matthews, this kind savior was a woman by the name of Alex Layton. Alex works for The Maggie Society, a non-profit canine rescue organization that rescues, rehabilitates, and then finds forever homes for hundreds of puppies.


Alex rescues and fosters puppies in her home on a regular basis. Unsurprisingly, she volunteered to help with rescue efforts for Hurricane Matthew, as well. 

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When Hurricane Matthew struck, Alex spent the weekend traversing the dangerous flood waters on a boat, trying to rescue pets that were left behind during the hurried state evacuation.

Hurricane Matthew 2

The Maggie Society/Facebook

Some of the guardians left Alex with keys to their home so that she could enter without a problem and save the animals. With other houses, she had to wade waist-deep through water to get inside. 

Hurricane Matthew 3

When she and the rescue team entered the houses, they witnessed the same sight at almost every location: dogs and cats climbing to the highest spot possible, be it kitchen cabinets, roofs, or otherwise. 

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The desperation these pets had for escaping was evident. Alex described the sight as “pitiful” and heartbreaking. 

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Alex shares that many of the dogs left behind were not just abandoned by their guardians. The floodwaters had risen unexpectedly high after the hurricane hit, and unfortunately, residents were only allowed to bring one pet along. 

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Once the dogs were transported through water, members of the rescue team waited on land with carts to load the pups in the car. 

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While some of the dogs were saved from houses, Alex shares that a majority of the dogs were actually fished out from the floodwaters. They sure seem happy to be out of the frigid water! 

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Alex and the rescue team were able to save more than 30 animals. Animal lovers from the surrounding areas offered kennels, the humane society offered room and board to some of the pups, Alex is fostering several of them, and the rest have been reunited with their guardians. Talk about a successful mission!

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The Maggie Society/Facebook



The rescue efforts that Alex participates in on a regular basis are pretty impressive on their own, but the fact that she would volunteer to go to the heartbreaking scene of a natural disaster is truly commendable. More than 30 animals owe their lives to the kindness and bravery that she and her team displayed. The work is not completely over yet, though. As Alex shared in a Facebook post, the rescued pets need dry dog food, dog collars, money for spay and neutering procedures, and personal dog tags. If you’d like to help out, click here.

All image source: Alex Layton/Facebook