Just hours before Hurricane Harvey hit Sinton, TX, a German Shepherd mix named Otis escaped from 65-year-old Salvador Segovia's screened-in porch and ran out into the storm. Segovia was watching the dog for his young grandson, who had evacuated in the face of the hurricane, and later lamented to The Houston Chronicle, "I kept yelling his name and yelling his name and he wasn't around."
Luckily for Segovia, a woman named Tiele Dockens would stumble upon Otis the following morning. Dockens, who lives in the same small town of Sinton, told Weather.com that she had been moving debris out of the streets with the other residents who had stayed behind and that when she spotted the lost dog, she was "driving around checking on family and friends' properties that decided to evacuate. Otis was strolling the streets after the owner let him out . . . with his dog food of course." Dockens followed Otis to ensure that he went home and wasn't left roaming the streets, eventually knocking on Segovia's door to ask if the dog belonged to him. But it's not simply this act of kindness that went viral in the aftermath of the storm. It's also a photo of Otis — who's well-known in the town for an unabashed penchant for sniffing out treats among his neighbors — that would come to represent something much larger and more important for the people of Texas in the days that followed.
Both Segovia and Dockens say that the bag of food in Otis's mouth was something that he scavenged from the town, knowing that it was what he'd need should he have to hunker down and wait out the storm. It's the story of Otis, his temporary owner, and one kindhearted neighbor that serves as a tiny bright spot for those who have been affected by Harvey, a storm that continues to hammer the Gulf Coast with wind and rain. And in the days, weeks, and months that follow, this photo will serve to represent the resilience and strength of those individuals who will be rebuilding after in the wake of such a massive natural disaster.
The Red Cross is currently accepting donations for those affected by Hurricane Harvey here.