Hurricane Florence is a mess. It’s one of the strongest storms to make landfall over the United States, ever. Heavy rain has brought on flooding and put important dams in danger of breaching as millions of people evacuated the Carolinas as their homes were destroyed. But as the human cost of Florence becomes more obvious, one Tennessee truck driver has his sights set on a group of creatures that are more easily forgotten: sheltered animals.
When Tony Alsup headed towards the east coast in his school bus this Monday, he had one mission, to save as many animals as possible before the hurricane hit. According to the Greenville News, Alsup has rescued a whopping 64 dogs and cats with his bus, and by the looks of it, he’s not slowing down until the storm is done.
“I’m like, look, these are lives too,” Alsup told The Washington Post. “Animals — especially shelter pets — they always have to take the back seat of the bus. But I’ll give them their own bus. If I have to I’ll pay for all the fuel, or even a boat, to get these dogs out of there.”
Alsup has actually been at this for a little bit now too. When Hurricane Harvey ravaged Texas, Alsup was driven by the news that local animal shelters had been overwhelmed due to the flooding. Since then he’s been hitting the road during big storms to take on extra animals in his “Emergency Animal Rescue Shelter.” Alsup has since volunteered during hurricanes Irma and Maria as well.
Since Monday Alsup has hit four separate shelters throughout the Carolina’s and plans to keep going. In a status posted to Facebook, he noted that there will “NO ONE LEFT BEHIND,” and asked his followers to point him to more needy shelters.
“It’s all true. Tony swooped in at 4 AM Wednesday morning to pick up our ‘leftovers’ — the dogs with blocky heads, the ones with heartworm,” the center wrote on Facebook. “The ones no one else will ever take. And he got them to safety. Not the most conventional evacuation, but surely the one with the most heart.”