While many inspiring stories are going viral in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, none are as uplifting - or adorable - as Otis and his bag of dog food.
While many areas in southeast Texas are affected by ongoing floods and power outages, the worst damage from Harvey's strong winds was seen on Friday just as the massive storm made landfall. On Saturday, people (and animals) in the region were busy clearing debris and gathering emergency supplies.
Which might explain why Tiele Dockens spotted a droopy-faced German shepherd mix carrying a full bag of dog food down the quiet streets of Sinton, Texas. Dockens thought the sight was "cute," and snapped a photo which quickly went viral.
Worried animal lovers quickly asked if Tiele knew the dog's owner, and offered to help her track him down, but it turns out they had no reason to be concerned. Dockens followed Otis down the road, and the senior dog quickly led her back to his owner.
“This lady comes by and tells me, ‘Is that your dog coming down the road?’” Salvador Segovia told the Washington Post. “And I turn around, there comes Otis, and he’s carrying food!” While Segovia was glad to be reunited with his pet, Otis's reappearance brought him more questions than answers.
So how did this clever dog find his way home with the dog food?
On Friday night, as the worst of the hurricane was bearing down on Sinton, Segovia put Otis on the screened-in back porch with food and water.
He hoped that the dog, who belongs to his grandson, would be safe there during the storm. But sometime during the night Otis panicked, broke the screen door and ran away from home. “I stuck my head out yelling and yelling, and no Otis,” Segovia says.
It wasn't until the next morning that Dockens spotted the dog and snapped her picture, and it's unclear that happened before that. But Segovia says his dog is "admired" in the small town of 5,000 people, which could explain how he got the bag of food.
Otis often follows Segovia while he does his errands, and will even wander the neighborhood on his own. Staff at the nearby Dairy Queen will sneak him burgers and ice cream, while the lumber store down the road (where Segovia buys dog food) will give him treats.
Segovia guesses that's where the bag of dog food came from. Either Otis managed to pilfer the food during the chaos of the storm, or one of his admirers gave it to him. Whatever the case may be, it's clear Otis is one dog who can look after himself.
“Otis is a smart dog,” Segovia said. “He knows where to go pick up a treat.” To support the victims of Hurricane Harvey you can call 1-800-REDCROSS or text the word HARVEY to 90999 to make a $10 donation.
Share this adorable dog's story with someone you know!
[H/T: Washington Post]