By Michael Suarez
VON ORMY—Here in the tiny little town of Von Ormy we suffered a big town’s amount of damage from the storms and then the torrential rains that followed soon afterward. As always we try and rise above the despair and help one another, from the Mayor touring the town to offer comfort and reassurances of help, to a city council woman offering her political campaign signs to seal broken out windows, to the animal control offering aid and rescuing the lost and homeless pets. In our town we try and exemplify what is best in us all, from the City Administrator driving in from Houston, to the neighbor that offers a dry place for someone that has none.
One almost forgotten part is our farm animals, we put them to pasture where they seem to live an almost idyllic life eating and sleeping under the big open sky. That is until that sky turns dark and unleashes hell upon them. This season is like one that most of us have not seen since the 2005 floods. Of course for an animal all they know is fear when the dark clouds roll in and the rains begins.
After the storms we always try and go around and see what broke out, escaped of perished after all out onslaught of Mother Nature. I have been fortunate enough to have added a new member to the animal control team as of late, she is brave, resourceful, and animal wise, just what we need in a town so close to a big city with big animal problems. I decided to take her out right after the rains had let up a bit to show her the areas that flood and the dangerous low water crossing that abound here in Von Ormy. We did not have to travel far to find the danger of fast moving waters.
As we approached a flooded roadway, the rain was still coming down obscuring our vision, but right there was a small donkey knee deep in the rushing waters looking confused and scared. After parking the truck and looking around for a possible way to pull the frighten animal to safety, a thunderous crack of lighting spooked the already frightened animal deeper into the swollen creek, all at once she lost her footing and was swept into the current.
Without hesitation or fear, Sheila jumped into the cold water to grab the animals harness that was still loosely attached to her head, wild eyed the animal fought hard and almost made her way up the slippery bank towards freedom, but the mud was deep and the cold was sapping her already drained strength. Thinking fast, I grabbed the tow strap from behind the seat, attaching it to the bumper I wade out into to the brackish waters to help her save the donkey. (I of course hear the line for Shrek “I’ve got to save my ass!”) Now for people out there that think this is an easy feat, it is NOT. Fast water rescue is best left for the trained and brave fire departments; they are better equipped and trained for this, except for animal rescue training we were winging it.
Sheila grabbed my hand as soon as I reached her, every so often her head would be washed over by a rush of water, the donkey brayed loudly and pitifully as we inched towards the bank. I looked into her eye and for a second I thought that this might be it, I pulled harder, but my strength was leaving me in the rushing waters. I thought to myself “let the donkey go!!” but the look in her eyes told me we were in it to the end. Inch by inch we got to the bank, with the last big effort the donkey stepped onto the pavement. Never before in my life was I happy for my fat belly which floats well, and the determination of another animal lover, and of course for the dry laundry that my kids had left in the back of the truck
Sitting there shivering in the light rain, soaked to the bone I thanked God for his mercy. In times like these we forget the little things in life; I gladly take the ribbing good humor jokes about saving someone donkey. I have always disliked the term “dog catcher” we are Animal Control Officers, we save lives, even if they are the furry kind!