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Sophomore shows strength after storm

David+Mazella+%28the+author%27s+father%29+with+their+dogs%2C+Charlie+and+Sadie%2C+after+the+storm.
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Sophomore shows strength after storm

David Mazella (the author's father) with their dogs, Charlie and Sadie, after the storm.

David Mazella (the author's father) with their dogs, Charlie and Sadie, after the storm.

Joseph Mazella

David Mazella (the author's father) with their dogs, Charlie and Sadie, after the storm.

Joseph Mazella

Joseph Mazella

David Mazella (the author's father) with their dogs, Charlie and Sadie, after the storm.

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I was woken up at 6 am. It was still dark out. My mother woke me up to tell me that there was water in the house.

The previous night, we had moved almost all of our possessions to higher ground, in case water came in. Our house had never flooded before, not in Allison (2001), not in the Memorial Day floods (2016), never. We thought we would be safe and that we would just lose power, like in previous floods. Early that morning, water started creeping into our home from the outer walls in my room and the backdoor.

We quickly ate two mini donuts each for breakfast. As we were eating, we started to notice the water coming in from other parts of the house. My dogs were terrified. Charlie, our youngest dog, cornered himself into the living room in the only part of the house that was still dry. We quickly turned off all the power.

The house across the street from ours was two story. We were friends with the owner, so we figured that we could ask him if we could stay there until the water subsided. If the water came into their home, we could go upstairs and we would be safe. We did not want to call a boat to evacuate to a shelter. Charlie and Sadie are big dogs. Sadie was 75 pounds and Charlie was 95 pounds. We did not think they would fit in a boat. We would not leave them.

Stephanie Holden
Mazella’s dogs, Charlie and Sadie, were his main focus during the storm despite being trapped by high waters.

We got our backpacks that we had filled the previous night with clothes and some snacks and we did something that I never thought I would have to do: we swam across the street.

We opened the front door and walked through a foot of Bayou water. The water was not too deep until we got to the street, where the water was two feet at the end of driveway. It was at that point we really worried about the dogs. Sadie was 9 years old and we were uncertain if she could swim. But we couldn’t turn back. Now there was over a foot of water in our home, and we did not want to have to evacuate onto our roof.

We did what we had to do: move forward. We walked waist-deep into the storm waters with our dogs swimming by our sides.

When we got to the neighbor’s house, my mom asked if we could come inside. They agreed and we went inside. However, everyone in the neighborhood had the same idea. Everyone and their dog was already inside. And the neighbor’s house already had water coming in too. So, we put our dogs on the bed of the neighbor’s pickup truck, the only place that was dry and wasn’t crowded. And we went about our day trying to entertain ourselves, and occasionally go back to our house to get supplies.

The next morning, we found out that the storm waters had subsided just enough that we could evacuate to a friend’s house near Hobby Airport. We went to our house and packed our backpack with extra clothes. We found volunteers from my synagogue to drive us to our friend’s house, were we are still living today.

We will probably stay here until the end of the fall semester.

It has been an extremely tough month from navigating the murky waters of flood insurance, to moving and throwing away possessions, to dealing with the psychological and emotional effects. But, my family and my dogs are okay. And we have friends that took us in during our time of need. But it would be even tougher if I didn’t have the immense support and kindness of both friends and strangers. So I want to thank everybody who volunteered, everybody who donated to the Red Cross, and everybody who helped me and others go through possessions. It is not easy, but we will make it through. We are #houstonstrong.

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Sophomore shows strength after storm